NAM Board Member companies Marlin Steel Wire Products, Boeing and Eli Lilly and Company testified today at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism entitled, “Economic Espionage and Trade Secret Theft: Are Our Laws Adequate for Today’s Threats?”
Marlin Steel Wire President Drew Greenblatt, Boeing Vice President Peter Hoffman and Eli Lilly Vice President Douglas Norman drove home the message that trade secret theft is a grave threat to manufacturers in the U.S. – putting jobs, growth and investment at risk.
“Small businesses, in particular, rely on trade secrets to protect their innovations,” Greenblatt testified. “At Marlin Steel Wire, trade secrets are our intellectual property – our “secret sauce.” But trade secrets theft “has a measurable, real world impact,” he added. “It costs good paying jobs and can even put entire businesses at risk.”
As the world’s leader in innovation, manufacturers in the U.S. constantly find their intellectual property (IP) under attack from not only their competitors, but from foreign governments as well. The cost is enormous and manufacturers can only do so much – no matter how many precautions they take.
Manufacturers need a strong, unified federal policy that will enforce strict laws to protect IP and trade secrets. Greenblatt, Hoffman and Norman specifically called for access to federal civil enforcement for trade secrets theft, which legislation like the “Defend Trade Secrets Act” (S.2267) introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) would provide.
Additionally, through trade agreements and international negotiations, the U.S. must partner with law-abiding nations to address this threat. “With effective criminal protection and access to federal civil enforcement hear at home, U.S. negotiators can work with our overseas partners to improve trade secret protection,” Greenblatt said.
This is a critical issue facing manufacturers, one that will define competition and success in the 21st century. Manufacturers will continue to work with policymakers to ensure they can efficiently and effectively protect and enforce their trade secrets.