Reply to post: Interstate Commerce

Microsoft, US senators want to grease wheels of trade secret theft cases

Robert Helpmann??

Interstate Commerce

Another step in the march towards total federal control?

It caught my attention that the bill's sponsor is Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Any time a prominent member of a political party proposes legislation that runs counter to that party's stated platform (the Republican party currently claims the role of defender of States' rights), something is going on behind the scenes. Congress would be well within its rights to pass this legislation as it would easily fall under the rubric of interstate commerce, but a little digging reveals that it is mostly an attempt at protecting American businesses from foreign companies.

In debate on the bill, Senator Jeff Flake said it’s also necessary that Congress address the fact that trade secret theft extends to foreign entities misappropriating U.S. trade secrets. Likewise, Senator Tillis said, “...the Defend Trade Secrets Act will help provide them with the legal protections they need to continue to do what they do best: produce life-changing innovation and create good-paying jobs.” Even more importantly, the proposed legislation carries a provision for ex parte seizure (S. 1890 2.b.2.A.i), enabling a company to ask the government to seize a suspected thief's property without notice. While the intent would be to allow companies to prevent their properties from being used without authorization, it is certain to be misused.

So this is not about federal law Trumping* state law. This is instead about protectionism in the face of a new trade treaty and providing more power to American corporate interests. The first of these explains Democratic party support and the second is what the Republican party goes in for, explaining the bipartisan support for the measure.

1. The Donald would probably endorse use of these powers given his love of imminent domain.

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