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In the US alone, trade secret theft costs innovators an estimated USD450 billion per year and constitutes a threat to US security and the US economy. Thanks to increasing employee mobility, data transfer capabilities, and globalization, trade secret loss is a growing threat to innovators worldwide. US courts have recognized the great value of trade secrets. For example, in 2011, a California court awarded a global medical device company USD2.3 billion for trade secret theft by a former employee. Beyond economic value, trade secret misappropriation is also a threat to safety and security—multiple former employees of defense contractors have been caught attempting to sneak valuable military secrets to both Iran and China. On 11 May 2016 President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act into law.

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