It was well known in the intellectual property world that federal trade secrets litigation was on the rise. But this year, practitioners found out how much that increase was.
LexMachina in July reported that trade secret misappropriation claims filed in federal court spiked 30 percent in 2017 from the previous year, with 1,134 filings.
The culprit was a new federal law, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, which gave litigants a way to take their trade secret misappropriation claim directly to federal court. Previously, trade secret protection had been left to the states, 48 of which, including Colorado, enacted their own version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
As the DTSA went into effect in May 2016, many attorneys in intellectual property, employment law and business litigation predicted a rush to federal courts for trade secret filings, and those predictions have borne out. But the question remains as to whether that trend will continue and how the DTSA, as well as changing technology, got companies thinking differently about trade secret protection.