In West Virginia, legislators are moving forward a bill that would criminalize trade secret theft. On February 26th 2019, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed H.B. 2014 with a 98-1 approval that would create criminal penalties for stealing trade secret or other intellectual property. The bill is now headed to the West Virginia Senate where President Mitch Carmichael has already indicated he approves and plans to move it forward. Legislators are hoping to drive tech and corporate investment in West Virginia by imposing more stringent protections for trade secrets and according to Senate President Carmichael, “[t]his bill would make sure [these companies] are protected” from intellectual property theft. If passed, the bill would apply to violations occurring after July 1st and could make West Virginia an attractive forum for companies looking to protect valuable intellectual property assets.

Crowell & Moring has issued its fifth annual report on regulatory trends for in-house counsel. “Regulatory Forecast 2019: What Corporate Counsel Need to Know for the Coming Year” explores a diverse range of regulatory developments coming out of Washington and other leading regulatory centers of power, and it takes a deep dive into international trade—examining the challenges and opportunities that will arise in the year ahead as global businesses compete in the digital revolution and operate their businesses across borders.

The cover story examines how changing international trade policies are causing businesses to rethink strategies for everything from supply chains to data transfers, while uncovering new opportunities along the way. The article forecasts changes on the horizon that include how new tariffs and trade barriers may drive up costs and cause companies to rearrange their supply chains; how some countries are restricting the flow of data across borders; and the impact of the growing number of stronger enforcement of financial crimes regulations, among others. The article also identifies hot spots for 2019 in an international trade infographic. An additional international trade article examines the increased oversight on foreign investment in the U.S., and its impact on innovation.

The Forecast also explores how the pace of technological change has revolutionized commerce and industry, and those charged with developing and enforcing regulations are working to keep up. The government affairs article, “Congressional Influence on Rulemaking Is on the Rise,” examines how congressional input on rulemaking is increasing as the Trump administration pursues deregulation, while the energy article, “Electricity—Prepare for Continuous Disruption,” focuses on how the digital transformation is bringing extraordinary risks and opportunities to incumbent utilities, competitive suppliers, and consumers.

Be sure to follow the conversation on social media with #RegulatoryForecast.