President Barack Obama signed the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) into law on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.
As discussed in a prior blog article, the new federal trade secret law provides a new federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation, and imposes new whistleblower immunity notice requirements on employers. The effective date of the DTSA is the date of enactment.
Starting May 12, 2016, all employers will be required by federal law to “provide notice of the immunity set forth in [the DTSA] in any contract or agreement with an employee that governs the use of a trade secret or other confidential information.” The notice requirement applies to “contracts and agreements that are entered into or updated after the date of enactment.” The DTSA broadly defines “employee” to include “any individual performing work as a contractor or consultant for an employer.”
Businesses should review agreements and documents addressing trade secrets and confidentiality with counsel. Employers should consult with counsel to ensure compliance with the new whistleblower immunity notice requirements.