Sep. 30, 2016|By Geoffrey S. Kercsmar
On May 11, 2016 President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (the “DTSA”). The new law immediately brought trade secrets in line with three other types of intellectual property—patents, copyrights, and trademarks—in one major aspect. For the first time, the federal courts now have jurisdiction to address trade secret misappropriation. This jurisdiction is not exclusive or even guaranteed: state courts can still hear many trade secret claims, and federal jurisdiction is restricted to those trade secrets “used in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.” Nonetheless, Congress appears eager to help address concern about trade secret theft, and the DTSA should prove favorable for those businesses affected by this issue.
This is good news for businesses. Growing businesses often owe their success to a nonpublic competitive advantage—some sort of distinguishing feature that separates a company’s product from its competitors’. Companies aggressively protect these distinguishing aspects of their product. Most have heard that Coca-Cola’s recipe is locked in a guarded safe and only known by two people, or that KFC’s “secret spices” are mixed by two different factories to ensure secrecy. Unfortunately, for most businesses, this level of security is unrealistic.
Sep. 26, 2016|By Eric B. Hull
Tonight, the first presidential debate will take place without the participation of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. By rule, Mr. Johnson needed “a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination.” See Commission on Presidential Debates website. But as of today, he is hovering around 9% and is out.
But what if I told you that 9% is more support than Ross Perot had at the time he was included in debates in 1992. And after inclusion in the debates, Mr. Perot went on to register 19% in the general election, making him the only third-party candidate since 1924 to exceed the elusive 15% threshold in a presidential election. In fact, since 1924 only four third-party candidates have garnered even 5% of the final vote (technically 3 candidates – Perot did it twice). Add it up and this 15% threshold seems unfair. Pointless.