Newly introduced bipartisan legislation would help combat the theft of corporate trade secrets. The Defend Trade Secrets Act (S. 2267), sponsored by Sens. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), would allow private companies to file civil lawsuits in federal court and seek damages when they believe their customer lists, formulas, manufacturing processes, or other proprietary information has been stolen. The senators argue that a federal law, similar to the statute that already protects patents, trademarks, and copyrights, is needed to prevent the misappropriation of trade secrets. The lawmakers say that much of the theft is done at the direction of foreign governments or for the benefit of foreign competitors.