In a major development in intellectual property law, on May 11th President Obama signed into law the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016,” after it passed Congress in rare and overwhelmingly bipartisan votes.  The law created a new federal civil claim for misappropriation of trade secrets.  Employers who want to protect their trade secrets can be the prime beneficiaries of the new law, but they should be aware of its definitions of “trade secret” and “misappropriation.”  The law applies to any misappropriation that takes place after the law is enacted, and carries a three-year statute of limitations.  Federal law already provided criminal penalties for “theft” of trade secrets. The passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act follows on the heels of Texas’ adoption of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in 2013, and highlights the attention now being given to protection of trade secrets.