Senate Votes to Protect Trade Secrets; House Should Follow Suit
Monday, Apr 04, 2016, 10:00pm
by David Isaacs, Vice President, Government Affairs
The Senate today unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to strengthen the protection of trade secrets. Trade secrets are valuable intellectual property critical to continued growth and innovation in the semiconductor industry and across the U.S. economy. The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015 (S.1890) would provide owners of trade secrets with new legal tools to prevent the theft of trade secrets. SIA commends the Senate for passing this needed legislation and urges the House to promptly pass its bill (H.R. 3326).
Trade secrets in the semiconductor industry include essential intellectual property such as manufacturing processes and techniques, circuit designs, software source code, and business strategies and customer lists. The protection of these types of trade secrets has contributed to landmark advances in semiconductor design and manufacturing that have strengthened our industry and reinforced America’s technology leadership.
Unfortunately, existing laws insufficiently protect trade secrets in today’s environment, where trade secret theft can be conducted across state or even national borders. The Defend Trade Secrets Act would strengthen the protection of trade secrets by providing a consistent, harmonized legal framework and a federal remedy that can help avoid the misappropriation of trade secrets and the commercial injury, diminished competitiveness, and loss of employment that can result when trade secrets are stolen.
We applaud the lead sponsors of the Senate bill, Sens. Hatch (R-UT) and Coons (D-DE), for their determined efforts to advance this legislation. In the House, similar legislation now has a bipartisan group of more than 100 co-sponsors, led by lead sponsors Reps. Collins (R-GA) and Nadler (D-NY).
The U.S. semiconductor industry invests about one-fifth of its revenue into research and development annually. This R&D creates valuable intellectual property that underpins our industry. The Defend Trade Secrets Act will help the semiconductor industry and others protect valuable IP. We call on the House to swiftly follow the Senate’s lead and send final legislation to the President for his signature.