New White House Initiative Takes Smart Steps Toward Stronger Protection of Trade Secrets

Today the Obama Administration unveiled a new initiative addressing an issue that is critical to American business, including the software industry: trade secret theft. In today’s globally connected word, trade secrets and confidential information are increasingly subject to the threats of international espionage and intellectual property theft. Microsoft was pleased last year when President Obama signed the Theft of Trade Secrets Act of 2012 into law, which clarified the protection provided by existing law, but more can be done.

The Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, has set forth a sound strategy for making sure trade secrets of U.S. companies are protected. The plan calls for better international cooperation and engagement among law enforcement officials, development and sharing of industry best practices, stepped-up enforcement here in the United States, a public awareness campaign and consideration of possible areas of new legislation. These are all key steps toward protecting the innovation of U.S. companies from the substantial harm that results from stolen trade secrets.

Microsoft applauds IPEC’s commitment to this issue, and urges anyone that relies on trade secrets to support this effort.

About the Author

Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

Horacio Gutiérrez is Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel in charge of the Microsoft products and services group (PSG). In this role, he oversees the team that provides front-line legal support to all of Microsoft's engineering and marketing teams, including Devices and Studios, Applications, Services and Dynamics, Operating Systems, Cloud and Enterprise, and Marketing. Previously, Horacio led the worldwide intellectual property group, including the development, maintenance and enforcement of the company’s IP portfolio, inbound and outbound patent licensing, and IP legal and public policy strategy. Prior to his eight years leading the IP group, Mr. Gutiérrez was based in Paris, where he was Microsoft's associate general counsel for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mr. Gutiérrez started his career at Microsoft in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. at the company’s Latin American regional headquarters, where he was responsible for commercial and corporate matters for the region.