Coons, Hatch push bill to provide better protections for trade secrets

Two senators introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at combating billions in trade secrets theft they say is costing U.S. jobs and innovation.

Sens. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate committee approves 0 million for state election security efforts Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity Bill to return B in unredeemed bonds advances MORE (D-Del.) and Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah), both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, are pressing for passage of a bill designed to stop upward of half a trillion dollars in intellectual property theft a year by giving companies more power to protect their trade secrets.

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“It will finally give trade secrets the same legal protections that other forms of critical intellectual property already enjoy,” Coons said.

Coons and Hatch said the theft of corporate trade secrets costs between $160 billion to $480 billion each year, puts U.S. jobs at risk and threatens research and development investment.

The senators argue that technology makes trade-secret theft much easier and that a uniform law, similar to what already applies to patents, trademarks and copyrights, would allow companies to adopt one set of policies to deal with the problem more effectively.

“American companies utilizing technology to grow and create more jobs increasingly face threats to the trade secrets that help drive their success,” Hatch said.

“The legislation we’re introducing today takes a big step toward confronting bad actors seeking to steal intellectual property, and provides victims of trade secret theft with the legal protections they need.”

The lawmakers say that much of the theft is done at the direction of a foreign government or for the benefit of a foreign competitor.

The Justice Department brought only 25 trade secret theft cases last year even as theft picks up pace, they said.

The legislation also provides for injunctions and damages, prevents disclosure and accounts for the economic harm to companies whose trade secrets are stolen.

The legislation has the backing of business groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with large U.S. companies including 3M, Boston Scientific, Caterpillar and GE.