Effective May 12, 2016, the newly enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) allows a civil action for misappropriation of trade secrets in federal courts. Significant features of the DTSA are:
- Remedies include actual damages, injunctive relief, punitive damages (up to 2 times the actual damages), and attorney fees.
- Subject to limitations, a federal court can order seizure of misappropriated trade secrets without notice to the alleged wrongdoer.
- A trade secret owner has 3 years to file a DTSA action in federal court.
- Non-disclosure and similar agreements must include notice of a new immunity provision or an employer may not recover punitive damages or attorney fees from an employee (including contractors and consultants) who misappropriates a trade secret.