As companies in New Jersey and across the country struggle to protect their intellectual property rights in an era of easy digital information-sharing, many are turning to trade secrets litigation when confidential information is disclosed. After the passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, it became easier for wronged parties to bring a claim under federal law for disclosure of trade secrets. At a time when intellectual property is key to the success of technology and other businesses, these claims are a powerful tool.
Trade secrets cases are particularly common in the life sciences and health care sectors, where research and development involve complex and intricate drug development programs, immunotherapies and treatment protocols. Over 70 cases have been filed in the two years since the DTSA was adopted related to health care corporations. Medical device companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers, including some of the largest firms in the sector, have made particularly common use of trade secrets litigation. Many companies have used these claims in order to bar former employees from sharing the information they know with other companies in the field.
Before the adoption of the DTSA, trade secrets claims had to be brought in state court, and state treatment of intellectual property claims could vary widely. By establishing a private right of action in the federal courts, the law strengthened the ability of companies to pursue those sharing the fruits of years of research and development.
New Jersey has a strong trade secrets law that owners of intellectual property can rely upon in addition to the federal law. Victims of the misappropriation of trade secrets can work with an intellectual property litigation lawyer to seek to recover their losses as well as any unjust gains received by the infringing party.