On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) into law. President Obama publicly supported this legislation and efforts generally directed to strengthen trade secret protections within the U.S. economy. As we previously reported on May 3, 2016 and November 24, 2015, trade secret misappropriation was formerly treated exclusively as a matter of state law, governed by varied versions of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act as enacted in most states. A lack of uniform enactment of this Act resulted in differences in the application of the law between states, which presented difficulties for trade secret owners seeking to enforce their rights in the general commerce.
Tagged: Digital Media
On April 27, 2016, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) passed the House of Representatives with a 410-2 vote. The two no votes were from Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Rep. Thomas Massey (R-KY). Earlier this month, on April 4, the Senate passed the DTSA by a unanimous vote of 87-0. Now, the DTSA heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.
Last month, judges from the European Court of Justice, the European Union’s top court, issued a judgment striking down a 15-year old agreement, known as the Safe Harbor framework, which allowed American and European businesses to freely move personal data between the two regions. This ruling impacts nearly 4,000 businesses that currently rely on Safe Harbor framework to transfer data between the U.S. and Europe and requires all businesses to revaluate their compliance with Europeans standards.
Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015 Would Create a Federal Private Right of Action for the Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
On July 29, 2015, with bipartisan support, Congressional leaders in both the House and the Senate introduced identical bills, HR 3326 and S. 1890, respectively, entitled, the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015” (“DTSA 2015”). The proposed legislation attempts to authorize a private civil action in federal court for the misappropriation of a trade secret that is related to a product or service used in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce. Additionally, the proposed legislations seeks to (a) create a uniform standard for trade secret misappropriation; (b) provide parties pathways to injunctive relief and compensatory damages; and (c) create remedies for trade secret misappropriation that are similar to other violations of intellectual property rights, for example, including exemplary damages and attorneys’ fees available in the event of willful and malicious misappropriation of a trade secret. An interesting feature of the DTSA 2015 is the availability of an ex parte seizure order for plaintiffs fearful of the dissemination of their trade secret(s). The proposed ex parte seizure allows for the government to seize property necessary to prevent the propagation or dissemination of the trade secret prior to giving notice of the lawsuit to the defendant.
While the winter holidays are a time for spending and good cheer, the 2013 holiday season was one that continues to be costly for Target. On December 19, 2013, Target publicly announced that computer hackers had stolen data, including credit card payment information, from millions of Target shoppers. In January 2014, Gibbons P.C., in light of the Target data breach, discussed the ramifications of delay in notifying consumers, whether the delay was intentional or as a result of compliance with law enforcement requests. Banks and credit unions, which had issued credit cards affected by the breach, were forced to reimburse Target customers in some cases and reissue millions of cards, brought a class action lawsuit against Target.
Gone, but Not Forgotten: How the European Union Court of Justice Misremembered the Fundamental Purpose of Search Engines
The European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on May 13, 2014 that Google must purge links to personal data appearing on web pages published by third parties if the person who is the subject of that data objects that it is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which [the data] were processed and in light of the time that has elapsed.” Google and other industry voices have already identified numerous concerns with the Court’s ruling, notably the unknown costs and potential disputes over relevancy and staleness of data that could arise as search engines seek to comply with the ruling.
The Laws of Physics and Copyright Law: SDNY Rules that First-Sale Doctrine Does Not Apply to the Resale of “Used” Digital Media
Owners of books and music in physical media form need not fear if ever they decide to sell, rent, or otherwise dispose of these copyright-protected materials. The first-sale doctrine permits such activities by extinguishing a copyright owner’s exclusive right of distribution of copyrighted items that have been lawfully sold or transferred. However, according to a recent federal court ruling, Capitol Records, LLC. v. ReDigi Inc., No. 12 Civ. 95 (S.D.N.Y. March 30, 2012) owners of digital versions of the same works may find it more difficult to sell, rent, or otherwise dispose of their digital files.
This past week, Governor Christie signed into law S. 581, entitled the “New Jersey Angel Investor Tax Credit Act.” The new law is designed to stimulate investment in New Jersey’s high tech start ups by providing investment incentives for “angel investors.” The law provides credits against corporation, business and gross income taxes for investing in New Jersey’s emerging technology businesses, including: advanced computing; advanced materials; biotechnology; electronic devices; information technology; life sciences; and mobile communications, among others. Angel investors in these start-ups will be eligible for tax credits equal to 10 percent of their investments, up to a maximum allowed credit of $500,000 for the tax year. Other criteria for the start-ups require that they employ fewer than 225 employees, 75 percent of whom must work in New Jersey. The overall program has an annual cap of $25 million.
Pinterest, a play on words of “pin” and “interest,” is a virtual, online “pin board,” where user’s can organize and share things they find on the web. While Pinterest is attracting a loyal community of social media users, the site is also the source of some concern for those same users and owners of intellectual property. The stated Mission of Pinterest is “to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting . . . a favorite book, toy, or recipe [which] can reveal a common link between two people.
On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, thousands of internet companies including Google and Wikipedia protested against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) proposed by the House and its counterpart in the Senate, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). For example, Wikipedia blacked out its website while Google collected over 7 million signatures for its anti SOPA and PIPA petition. Since the high profile protests, key House and Senate supporters have withdrawn their support, questioning the viability of both bills.