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2016 Defend Trade Secrets Act Used for Criminal Charges

Jouret LLC Sept. 3, 2019

The Wall Street Journal today reported at https://on.wsj.com/2krWd2F that the 2016 federal Defend Trade Secrets Act is being used by federal prosecutors in connection with the prosecution of alleged violations of the #DTSA by a former employee of Google’s autonomous driving division. The DTSA has, at this writing, never been interpreted by either the Supreme Court of the United States or the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The case appears to be a testing ground to dissuade employees from considering actions that could constitute theft of #tradesecrets. But will prosecutors pursue charges down the road for affected companies that are much smaller than Google/Alphabet? Time will tell but it certainly seems that such charges would have an expanded positive effect of making the much larger workforce not employed by Fortune 10 companies think twice about doing things that may seem permissible but often aren’t, such as taking a customer list when changing jobs.