CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia House of Delegates today passed a bill which will give the state the strongest intellectual property and trade secrets protections in the United States – reforms designed to make West Virginia a world-class haven for high-tech, digital and biopharmaceutical investment.
House Bill 2014, the West Virginia Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Act, passed by a 98-1 margin.
House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, who co-sponsored the bill, said this legislation has the greatest potential of any bill considered this session to make a substantial, lasting effect on the state’s economic growth.
“While intellectual property and trade secrets laws might not mean much to the average Joe on the street, in corporate America these protections are absolutely vital and important in deciding where to perform sensitive research and development,” Speaker Hanshaw said.
“Just like the laws in Delaware make it attractive for business incorporation, or Connecticut laws make it a haven for insurance companies, this bill will make West Virginia the most attractive place in the world for high-tech industrial research and development,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “This has tremendous potential to diversify and rejuvenate our state’s economy for generations to come.”
Speaker Hanshaw said the rise of international intellectual property theft and the refusal by foreign governments to give protection to American patents has driven more and more industrial research to be protected by trade secret rather than through traditional patent protection.
The West Virginia Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Act establishes in state code the strongest criminal, injunctive and civil protections against the misappropriation of intellectual property and trade secrets in the country.
“This bill will make West Virginia’s laws on trade secret protection the strongest of any jurisdiction in the United States,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “This will make our state the most enticing environment for recruitment and retention of high-tech industries, including digital and biopharmaceutical companies, and provide our state with tremendous potential for growth.”
The bill now goes to the state Senate for further consideration.