by Alden Abbott
The Heritage Foundation
June 25, 2014
Trade secrets are types of business information that confer value because of their secrecy, such as confidential formulae, manufacturing techniques, and customer lists. The theft of U.S. trade secrets is a growing problem, costing American businesses hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Electronic espionage by major foreign powers such as China is particularly serious. Unlike holders of other forms of intellectual property, owners of trade secrets cannot invoke a federal civil legal remedy. A federal trade secrets law would help victims recover damages and make it easier to stop thieves before they flee the country. Such a law, designed not to displace optional state law remedies, would both protect the rights of the owners of trade secrets and strengthen the economy.

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