itwbennett writes: At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, lawmakers heard arguments over the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015. The proposed legislation would allow companies to pursue trade-secrets cases in federal court much as they can copyright or patent cases, thereby freeing them from the state-level constraints of today's laws. It also allows for so-called ex parte seizure, enabling a company that thinks a secret has been stolen to ask the government to seize a suspected thief's property without notice, to prevent misuse of that secret. It's the ex parte seizure provision, as well as the bill's potential to increase the duration and cost of trade-secrets litigation, that prompted more than 40 law professors to write a joint letter expressing their concern. Companies have long protected algorithms such as consumer credit-scoring mechanisms under trade-secret law, intellectual property expert and Hamline University professor Sharon Sandeen said in an interview after the hearing. If passed, the new bill could give them new powers to conceal those algorithms, she said. Voicing the opposing view, lawyers from Corning and DuPont cited the increasingly digital and global nature of trade-secrets theft, a sentiment that was echoed in a blog post by Jule Sigall, Microsoft's assistant general counsel of IP policy and strategy.
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