House Judiciary Committee Looks to Strengthen Trade Secret Protection and Enforcement

By June 25, 2014Economy

At a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet hearing this afternoon, Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle expressed broad support for legislation providing access to federal civil court for trade secret theft – a key manufacturing priority.

The NAM’s Senior Director of International Business Policy Chris Moore testified on the importance of strengthening trade secrets protection and enforcement at home and abroad.

America’s global leadership in manufacturing depends on the strong protection and enforcement of intellectual property like trade secrets, which include everything from proprietary manufacturing plans, processes, techniques, codes and formulas to research, marketing data and customer lists. But trade secrets are increasingly at risk in today’s mobile and interconnected global marketplace.

Trade secrets “provide a powerful business advantage in highly competitive sectors like manufacturing – but only as long as they remain confidential,” Moore testified. “Once disclosed, their value is lost forever. Theft has a real, measurable, real-world impact. It costs good-paying U.S. jobs and can even put entire businesses at risk.”

Chris MooreAmerican manufacturers are doing all they can to secure their networks and safeguard their trade secrets, but theft continues to grow in this digital age with anonymous hackers operating as part of criminal enterprises. But Congress has an important role to play in enhancing trade secret protection.

The NAM supports legislation that would better align U.S. trade secrets laws with today’s threats and with the protection accorded to other intellectual property by providing access to federal and civil enforcement for trade secrets theft.

Current state civil trade secret laws are not sufficient to address interstate theft, and taking civil action to protect trade secrets across multiple jurisdictions is difficult and costly – particularly for small businesses.

“The fact that trade secret owners do not have the same access to federal civil enforcement as owners of every other form of intellectual property right – including patents, trademarks and copyrights – leaves them without an essential means to deter theft and recover any losses,” Moore said.

To strengthen the protection of manufacturing know-how at home and abroad, Moore urged the Judiciary Committee to support legislation providing access to federal civil enforcement for trade secret misappropriation.

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