On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), which amended the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 to create a federal civil remedy for trade secret misappropriation. lockThe DTSA governs misappropriations occurring after the effective date of May 11, 2016.

Although trade secret theft has been a federal crime since 1996, civil claims for trade secret misappropriation were almost always governed by state law. A corporation unable to establish a basis for federal jurisdiction was thus limited to state court. Although every state but two has adopted a variation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, these statutory variations and differing court interpretations created uncertainty in the application of trade secret law, an area of growing importance for companies increasingly dependent on electronic security.

Continue Reading Husch Blackwell Files One of First Lawsuits Brought Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA)

flagsEffective May 23, 2016, the U.S. State Department revised its policy and terminated the embargo that had previously prohibited any exports to and imports of lethal arms and related material from Vietnam. President Obama announced this change in policy during a visit to Hanoi, Vietnam. Under the new policy, U.S. persons and other individuals or business entities subject to the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) may now apply for a license to export lethal defense articles and defense services to Vietnam or temporarily import the same from Vietnam. The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls will then review any license applications on a case-by-case basis.

Continue Reading U.S. Secretary of State Adjusts Policy on Sale of Defense Items to Vietnam

AirplaneHouse and White House negotiators have agreed to two provisions of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, which may provide an incentive for business aircraft owners. Under the act, which is expected to pass Congress and be signed by the President, “bonus deprecation” is extended and the “expensing” provisions of the Internal Revenue Code are made permanent.
Continue Reading Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (2015) Includes Changes to Bonus Depreciation and Small Business Expensing

ManufacturingHidden away in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (2015 Budget), signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015, is an obscure provision that will raise the maximum penalties for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations for the first time since 1990. The financial ramifications of the significantly higher penalties may change how employers evaluate whether to contest OSHA citations.

Continue Reading Employers Beware: OSHA Penalties to Increase for First Time Since 1990

AirplaneOn September 30, 2015, President Obama executed the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015 (“Airport and Airway Extension Act”), passed earlier in the week by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The Airport and Airway Extension Act extends FAA funding for six months through March 31, 2016.

Continue Reading President Signs the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015

Flag of CubaThe U.S. Department of Commerce and Department of the Treasury have announced additional changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and Export Administration Regulations intended to facilitate travel, expand telecommunications and internet-based services, and authorize certain business operations in Cuba. Published on September 21, these new policy changes take effect immediately.  Among the changes are specific provisions aimed at expanding U.S. presence in Cuba:
Continue Reading New Policy Changes Further Ease Trade Restrictions with Cuba

Havana CubaAs tensions between Cuba and the United States continue to thaw, President Obama made a historic announcement today – the U.S. and Cuba will reopen embassies in each other’s capitals. This could prove a watershed moment in the push to normalize relationships between the two countries. Estimates are that the embassies will open by month end, with Secretary of State John Kerry traveling to Cuba for the official opening. This development echoes White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s response to his first ever question taken from a Cuban reporter last May – that the White House hoped the two countries would reopen embassies.
Continue Reading U.S. and Cuba Agree to Open Embassies in Havana and Washington, D.C.

flags177100862 On June 24, the Senate approved the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, granting President Obama trade promotion authority, or TPA. The passage of this “fast-track” authority enables the President to leverage greater support during the upcoming negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by guaranteeing that the trade agreement to be finalized by the 12-nation pact will be sent to Congress for approval without permitting lawmakers to amend the treaty.
Continue Reading Trade Legislation Sent to Obama

Flag of CubaWhile Iran has taken center stage in current foreign policy discussions, Congress and the Administration are keenly aware that Cuba is on deck. Following President Obama’s historic meeting with Cuban President Raúl Castro and his announcement of intent to remove Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism, members of Congress have responded by introducing bills both supporting and opposing the President’s policies, including:

Continue Reading Lawmakers Continue Taking Sides on Cuba while Cities Begin Taking Action