Press Release: Senators Hatch, Coons Urge Passage of Trade Secrets Bill

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, joined Senator Chris Coons, D-Del., on the Senate floor today to urge passage of their bipartisan, bicameral Defend Trade Secrets Act.

Senators Hatch and Coons noted that the legislation has robust support and is ready to advance through the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate as a whole. Senator Hatch also announced three new co-sponsors, Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Senator Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Senator James Risch, R-Idaho.



(Via YouTube)

You can find the full text of Senator Hatch and Senator Coon’s colloquy here.

Notable Hatch Quotes

  • “I am pleased to be participating in this colloquy with my friend from Delaware, Senator Chris Coons. Earlier this year we introduced the Defend Trade Secrets Act, a bill that will create a harmonized, uniform federal standard for protecting trade secrets.”
  • “At a time when cyber theft of trade secrets is at an all-time high—particularly as it involves Chinese competitors—it is critically important that U.S. companies have the ability to protect their trade secrets in federal court.”
  • “I am not aware of any stakeholder opposition to this bill. Those who operate businesses in the real world and have to protect their trade secrets on a regular basis are strong supporters of the Defend Trade Secrets Act. The list of companies and associations that have endorsed the Act is diverse and impressive.”
  • “If you talk to any of the companies that were initially on the fringes but are now supporters of the bill, I think they will agree that you and I are willing to address all legitimate concerns. So work with us.”

Letters of Support

Senator Hatch has received the following letters of support from industry leaders:

The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015 Coalition [LINK]:

We appreciate your leadership on this issue.

The Defend Trade Secrets Act will create a harmonized, uniform standard and system for companies to protect their trade secrets. Your bipartisan legislation will establish a strong standard for trade secret protection.

Trade secrets are an essential form of intellectual property. Trade secrets include information as broad-ranging as manufacturing processes, product development, industrial techniques, formulas, and customer lists. The protection of this form of intellectual property is critical to driving the innovation and creativity at the heart of the American economy. Companies in America, however, are increasingly the targets of sophisticated efforts to steal proprietary information, harming our global competitiveness.

Theodore H. Davis, Jr. , Section Chair, The American Bar Association, Section on Intellectual Property Law [LINK]:

S. 1890 is the product of several years of congressional consideration and development. The Section of Intellectual Property Law has followed these developments and, in doing so, has identified essential components that should be included in a bill to establish a federal private cause of action for misappropriation a of a trade secret.

These components include:

  • A definition of trade secret that is clear and effective and not unduly restrictive or overly technical;
  • A clear delineation of the requirements for a federal cause of action;
  • The availability of remedies that are comparable to those available under the UTSA, including provisions providing for injunctive relief and monetary relief in the form of royalties, disgorgement of the proceeds of unjust enrichment, and exemplary damages;
  • Provisions for seizure orders that adequately limit the circumstances in which they may
  • Be issued and executed and that provide for the custody, security, and access to seized
  • Property; and
    • confirmation that the bill’s enactment will not preempt state trade secret laws.

Because S. 1890 contains these essential components, the Section of Intellectual Property Law supports its enactment.

Very truly yours,

The Semiconductor Industry Association [LINK]:

The Defend Trade Secrets Act would strengthen the protection of trade secrets by providing for a federal civil cause of action. The bills would provide a consistent, harmonized legal framework and help avoid the commercial injury, diminished competitiveness, and loss of employment that can occur when trade secrets are stolen.

We appreciate your leadership in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will strengthen U.S. competitiveness and innovation.

The Intellectual Property Owners Association [LINK]:

IPO supports the enactment of legislation, such as the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015, to establish a federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation to protect trade secrets from domestic and foreign theft, including an ex parte seizure provision, while providing adequate safeguards against improper use of such ex parte seizure provision.

The Business Software Alliance

I commend the much-needed leadership of Senators Hatch and Coons on the the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015. The theft of trade secrets undermines American companies by stealing their hard-earned research and development, and is a serious threat to the innovation economy,” said Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance. “This legislation will create a uniform federal standard with a well-balanced private right of action that allows trade secret owners to take action when their intellectual property is misappropriated. BSA and its member companies look forward to working with the House and Senate to pass meaningful trade secrets legislation this Congress.


Trade secrets, such as customer lists, formulas, and manufacturing processes, are an essential form of intellectual property. Yet, trade secrets are the only form of U.S. intellectual property where misuse does not provide its owner with a federal private right of action. Currently, trade secret owners must rely on state courts or federal prosecutors to protect their rights. The Defend Trade Secret Act addresses these problems by empowering companies to protect their own trade secrets in federal court, creating a more efficient remedy.

Key points about the Defend Trade Secrets Act:

The Defend Trade Secrets Act harmonizes U.S. law. Building off of the Economic Espionage Act, the bill creates a uniform standard for trade secret misappropriation. Companies can craft one set of nondisclosure policies secure in the knowledge that its trade secrets will be protected by federal law.

The Defend Trade Secrets Act provides for injunctions and damages, to preserve evidence, prevent disclosure, and account for the economic harm to American companies whose trade secrets are stolen without preventing employee mobility.

The Defend Trade Secrets Act is consistent with the remedies provided for other forms of intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks and copyrights, which are all covered by federal civil law.

The Defend Trade Secrets Act will not lead to more litigation. Trade secrets cases are already permitted under state law, but inconsistency in state laws and unavailability of key equitable remedies reduces their effectiveness.  By providing a single uniform cause of action in federal court, trade secret litigation will be more effective and efficient. Lastly, state law will continue to apply, and state courts will continue to have jurisdiction over state law claims.

Defend Trade Secret Act Supporters:

  • Adobe
  • AdvaMed
  • American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property Law
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Association of Global Automakers, Inc.
  • Biotechnology Industry Organization
  • The Boeing Company
  • Boston Scientific
  • BSA | The Software Alliance
  • Corning Incorporated
  • DuPont
  • Eli Lilly and company
  • General Electric
  • Honda
  • IBM
  • Illinois Tool Works, Inc.
  • Information Technology Industry Council
  • Intel
  • International Fragrance Association, North America
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Medical Device Manufacturers Association
  • Medtronic
  • Michelin North America
  • Micron
  • Microsoft
  • National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation
  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • The New England Council
  • Nike
  • Pfizer
  • Philips
  • The Intellectual Property Owners Association
  • The Procter & Gamble Company
  • The Semiconductor Industry Association
  • SAS
  • Siemens Corporation
  • Software & Information Industry Association
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • United Technologies Corporation
  • 3M