It’s No Secret: 2013 Was A Big Year For Trade Secrets…

From attorneys Michael Spillner and Robert Uriarte of Orrick, an in-depth look at key 2013 developments in the trade secrets field:

“One of the hottest topics throughout 2013 caught fire when security company Mandiant issued its blockbuster report in February, claiming that state-sponsored hackers in China had been engaged in massive cyberattacks in the United States.  This set off a firestorm in Washington, with the White House issuing an Executive Order and five-point plan for combating cybertheft, the Pentagon publicly accusing China of cyberhacking in its annual report to Congress, and Senators calling for the creation of a watch list of foreign countries that engage in economic or industrial espionage.

But the United States lost some moral high ground with Edward Snowden’s now-infamous revelations about NSA surveillance programs, including spying on government leaders.  With the NSA fallout, the United States undoubtedly took a credibility hit — after all, it’s hard to complain about others hacking you when you’re monitoring their calls.

Congress nonetheless pushed forward with one of the busiest years ever for trade secret legislation, kicking off the year with two amendments that expanded the breadth and penalties of the Economic Espionage Act.  The Theft of Trade Secrets Clarification Act was intended to close a loophole and ensure that the EEA protected against the theft of trade secrets like internal source code, even if the code itself isn’t placed into interstate commerce. And the Foreign Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act increased the maximum fines for stealing trade secrets with the intent to benefit foreign entities from $500,000 to $5 million for individuals and from $10 million to the greater of $10 million or three times the value of the stolen trade secret for organizations.  But Congress didn’t stop there, with members introducing an unprecedented number of trade secret bills that are currently under consideration in both the House and Senate.

And that’s just in the “Legislation and Policy” section. Spillner and Uriarte also cover international developments, civil court filings, civil verdicts and settlements, criminal trade secrets cases, and appellate decisions. Read the full update, Trade Secrets Watch 2013 Year-In-Review, then read more on trade secrets from experts writing on JD Supra:

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