April 27, 2016
Collins Bill to Protect American Jobs, Innovation, Passes House
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed S. 1890, the Defend Trade Secrets Act. Congressman Collins, who introduced the House version of the legislation, made the following statement after the vote:
“The United States is home to some of the most innovative companies in the world, and the lifeblood of many of those businesses are their trade secrets. However, that success has made American businesses a target for trade secret theft to the tune of billions of dollars each year. This theft—by foreign and domestic actors—threatens American jobs and economic security, and discourages investment. This bill will provide a uniform federal civil remedy for trade secret misuse or misappropriation, to establish protections similar to those for other forms of intellectual property.”
“This legislation—which has broad bipartisan support—is critical to protecting American intellectual property and the associated jobs and economic benefits. Current federal law is insufficient to address this problem, but the Defend Trade Secrets Act takes steps to fix that. I thank Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers, and Reps. Nadler and Jeffries for their support and leadership on this bill, and applaud Senators Hatch and Coons for their tireless efforts in the Senate to move this bill forward. With today’s vote, this bill will go to the President’s desk and meaningful measures to protect American innovation and competitiveness will be enacted.”
Background on the Defend Trade Secrets Act:
Trade secrets include everything from business information to designs, prototypes, formulas, and procedures. Trade secrets derive their economic value from not being publicly known, and this confidential business information is crucial to maintaining a competitive edge. Once trade secrets are disclosed, they instantly lose their economic value. Current law does not provide sufficient protections for trade secrets, and trade secrets are not subject to the same protections that apply to other forms of intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
Today, the only federal mechanism for trade secret protection is the 1996 Economic Espionage Act, which makes trade secret theft by foreign nationals a criminal offense. This law addresses only a portion of the problem, and advances in technology and increased sophistication of thieves have made it clear additional protections are needed.
The Defend Trade Secrets Act creates a federal private right of action for trade secret theft and establishes a uniform national standard. It allows for victims of trade secret theft to protect their property in federal court. Additionally, the bill provides for an injunction and damages, and, in extraordinary circumstances, allows victims of trade secret theft to obtain a seizure to ensure trade secrets are not abused while cases are pending.
The Defend Trade Secrets Act passed the Senate by a vote of 87 to 0. The House companion has more than 160 cosponsors, and the bill is supported by a coalition comprised of more than 50 companies and associations.
April 27, 2016
Collins Bill to Protect Law Enforcement Passes
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Committee marked up H.R. 2137, the Federal Law Enforcement Self Defense and Protection Act. The bill passed the committee by a voice vote. Congressman Collins, who authored the bill, issued the following statement after the vote:
“Ensuring that federal law enforcement officers have the tools they need to defend themselves is critical to protecting them from the threats they face every day. As the son of a Georgia State Trooper, I recognize that law enforcement can face threats on or off duty. I introduced this legislation to ensure that there is a consistent federal policy governing officers’ ability to protect themselves—regardless of their duty status. During the lapse in funding in 2013, about 1800 federal officers were forced to hand over their government issued firearms in a seemingly arbitrary decision. These officers are highly trained and know the responsibilities associated with possessing a weapon; it does not make sense to disarm them if there is a lapse in federal appropriations, especially as our country faces increasing national security threats.”
“Those who would seek to cause chaos may even take advantage of an opportunity for crime knowing that law enforcement is temporarily weakened. Officers make a commitment to protect and serve, and this legislation will clarify federal policy to ensure they can defend themselves and the public in event of a furlough or a lapse in appropriations. I thank Chairman Goodlatte for his support, and hope that this bill’s broad bipartisan support, coupled with support from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Association of Police Organizations will help ensure this bill receives a swift vote on the House Floor.”
April 26, 2016
Congressman Collins: It’s Past Time Windstream Address Customer Complaints
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Doug Collins sent a letter to Windstream CEO Tony Thomas to follow up on previous concerns and emphasize the growing number of complaints from Windstream customers in Northeast Georgia. Congressman Collins has been actively working to hold Windstream accountable since coming to Congress, and has repeatedly requested answers and demanded better service on behalf of his constituents. This letter builds on issues addressed in Congressman Collins’ February letter, after Windstream failed to make substantial improvements. Congressman Collins issued the following statement on the letter:
“We keep hearing more and more excuses from Windstream. The reality is, there is a local fire department that is unable to adequately serve the community because of poor Windstream connections. There are people who are unable to operate businesses, or work from home, because of unreliable service. This is unacceptable. The Customer Service employees Windstream has on the front lines are well aware that they are working with an insufficient product, and they do their best to help customers, but the real problems are clearly with the infrastructure. There is a distinct possibility that the networks are over capacity, and utilize outdated technology. Because Windstream has preferred tax status from the IRS, and has accepted taxpayer money from the Connect America Fund, they need to be held accountable to Congress and Northeast Georgians. I look forward to discussing these issues in depth with Mr. Thomas in our meeting on May 9, and I will continue to push for answers until Windstream can show some progress in addressing the concerns of my constituents.”