The Uniform Trade Secret Act (“UTSA”) is a framework for a uniform set of state trade secret statues that was intended to harmonize trade secret law throughout the U.S. Texas became the most recent state to enact the UTSA on Sept. 1, 2013.
The UTSA has been enacted in 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The two holdout states are New York and Massachusetts. There are pending bills that enact the UTSA in those states, but they have not made much progress through the respective legislatures of those states.
The UTSA includes a standard definition of trade secrets and a standard definition of trade secret misappropriation. The UTSA includes standards for remedies, including damages, enhanced damages, attorney’s fees and injunctive relief.
One of the 48 UTSA states, North Carolina, is a special case. The state has enacted a trade secret statute that includes many of the features of the UTSA, but there are also important differences. The North Carolina statute includes a different definition of a trade secret and of misappropriation. The North Carolina statute also provides for an award of punitive damages.
As indicated in my July 7, 2016, blog entry, trade secrets can also be enforced by private parties in federal courts using The Defend Trade Secrets Act, which was enacted on May 11, 2016.