KCBS_740 SAN JOSE (KCBS) — Many in Silicon Valley are cheering word that President Obama is likely to sign a bill into law that is meant to help companies protect their intellectual property.

The Defend Trade Secrets Act could give local tech firms new powers to sue in federal court in cases involving the theft of trade secrets.

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Golden Gate Law School Professor Mark Greenberg told KCBS that those firms had been limited to state courts for those cases.

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“It’s been a very cumbersome system to try to enforce trade secrets state-by-state. The purpose of this is to streamline that, and to allow companies to go into federal courts to enforce these rights,” Greenberg said.

Opponents of the proposal fear it could lead to companies abusing the law by trying to sue their competitors out of business.  They also say the cost of litigation for trade secrets could be driven up by the legislation.

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The bill faced little opposition in Congress, and the Obama Administration has signaled support for it.