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Obama Signs Federal Trade Secrets Bill Into Law

President Barack Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) into law yesterday, May 11, 2016. As we previously reported, the Senate unanimously passed the bill on April 4, and the House overwhelmingly passed it on April 27. The President has long supported the legislation to bring greater harmonization to trade secrets enforcement, following an extended bipartisan effort to create a new federal system of trade secrets that commenced in 2012.

The DTSA creates a federal civil cause of action – and federal subject matter jurisdiction – for trade secret misappropriation for any act that “occurs on or after the date of the enactment” of the law and that affects interstate or foreign commerce. Plaintiffs now have the opportunity to obtain injunctive relief and monetary damages and, in appropriate matters, ex parte seizures of misappropriated trade secrets.

Meanwhile, the European Union’s Trade Secrets Directive was passed by the European Parliament on April 14, with final approval is expected this month. The Directive aims to standardize trade secrets protection across the European Union and must be implemented in Member States within the next two years.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP


About this Author

Steven Auvil, Squire Patton Boggs, intellectual property attorney

Steve Auvil leads our Intellectual Property & Technology Practice Group’s litigation practice in the US, and his practice is focused on litigation of intellectual property (IP) disputes. As an engineer and patent lawyer, he has been exposed to a wide variety of technologies, including control systems, power electronics, communication systems, medical devices, steel production, complex mechanical systems and software systems. Steve has been listed in Chambers USA Leading Lawyers since 2007 and The Best Lawyers in America since 2006.

In more...

David Elkins Attorney Patent Litigation Squire Patton Boggs

David Elkins has led our global Intellectual Property & Technology Practice Group since 2010. Based in Silicon Valley, David serves as lead trial and arbitration counsel in patent, trademark, trade dress, trade secret, false advertising and copyright actions nationwide.

Following outstanding client feedback, David has been named a “star lawyer” in the Acritas Stars™ global database in 2017 and 2018: “He’s a very dedicated lawyer and we can have full confidence and trust that he will act in our interests”; “The quality of his advice: it is sharp, it is to the point, and it’s very concise and relevant.” David has also been a Thomson Reuters Northern California Super Lawyer since 2014.

David served for more than seven years on the Silicon Valley Board of Directors of Playworks, including several years as the board’s chair. Playworks (which David continues to support) is a national nonprofit organization that supports learning at low-income, urban schools by transforming recess and play into a positive experience – helping kids and teachers get the most out of every learning opportunity throughout the school day.


  • Lead counsel for our stealth-mode battery technology company client in an arbitration (JAMS) against two former R&D scientist-employees who, after the respective employment of each terminated, wrote and published a journal article unlawfully disclosing a number of our client’s key trade secrets. Our client’s trade secret misappropriation and related claims will be tried in a multiple-day hearing scheduled for June 2018.
  • Lead counsel for the famous Muirfield Village Golf Club, securing a TRO, preliminary injunction and, ultimately, a permanent injunction in S.D. Ohio, preventing a Texas LLC from claiming exclusive rights to Muirfield’s 40+ year old trademark for its annual PGA Tour tournament.
  • Lead trial and appellate counsel for Venture Corporation Ltd and Venture Design Services, Inc. Following a two-week jury trial in N.D. Cal., the jury (i) confirmed our clients’ ownership of patents that a former employee claimed to have invented before his employment commenced, and (ii) rejected the former employee’s counterclaims seeking US$52 million-US$103 million in damages. Venture Corp. Ltd v. Barrett, No. 5:13-CV-03384-PSG, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165809, 2015 WL 8479475 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 9, 2015). After the Court of Appeals affirmed, Venture Corp. Ltd v. Barrett, Case No. 15-17439, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14174 (9th Cir. Aug. 2, 2017), the district court awarded our clients more than US$1.4 million in attorneys’ fees and related expenses.
  • Lead counsel for Zippo Manufacturing Co., maker of the iconic windproof lighter, in a number of trademark enforcement actions. In one action, David first-chaired our enforcement of one of Zippo’s trademark families in an infringement action in C.D. Cal. while directing parallel litigation in the German Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main and in the High Court of Justice in London. The parallel proceedings resolved by settlement on the eve of trial in C.D. Cal.