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President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act into law last week, giving powerful new tools to companies looking to protect their trade secrets from misappropriations.

The act adds two major weapons to the corporate legal arsenal: a federal cause of action for trade secrets theft and a civil seizure mechanism that gives the act some serious bite. But it also places new requirements on employers. Here's what in-house counsel should know.

North Carolina has faced a significant backlash since it adopted House Bill 2, a law meant to force transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their birth gender, rather than the gender they identify with. PayPal cancelled plans to expand to Charlotte, Lionsgate and A+E have refused to film in the state, and last week, the Department of Justice warned that the law violated the civil rights of transgender people, which could cost North Carolina millions in federal funds.

Now, the North Carolina is back on the offensive. Governor Pat McCrory filed suit against the DOJ this morning, calling the DOJ's warning a "radical reinterpretation" of the law and asking for court's to declare it legally sound.

In case you haven't been reading the tabloids lately, Gawker, the Internet gossip site, is currently facing a $100 million lawsuit by Hulk Hogan, the 80's professional wrestling superstar.

Gawker, you see, posted an illicit video of Hogan having sex with a friend's wife, but the real shocker is how poorly Gawker's editors performed when deposed. Gawker's terrible showing is a helpful reminder to the rest of us: never cut corners when it comes to prepping high-level employees for litigation.

Last September, just as the Volkswagen emissions fraud was being revealed, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates declared that there would be significant changes to the way the Department of Justice handled corporate misdeeds. That memorandum, now known as the Yates Memo, made it clear that when corporations break the law, individuals will be held accountable.

Now, six months later, we're starting to see just how that might play out, and it could end up reducing corporate cooperation in enforcement actions.

For the first time ever, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed two lawsuits over sexual orientation discrimination.

Both suits are brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which does not explicitly prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Rather, the suits rely on the EEOC's relatively new interpretation that Title VII's prohibition on sex-based discrimination also covers anti-LGBT bias.

Perhaps you've been following #FreeKesha on Twitter, or seen her recent contract dispute pop up in the tabloids. Kesha, the pop star, recently lost a minor legal battle in her suit against Lukasz Sebastian, the record producer known as "Dr. Luke."

But don't write off the dispute as something just for the tabloids. There are important lessons for in-house counsel in there, too, we swear.

When it comes to high-profile litigation, the court of public opinion moves much faster than the courts of law. Managing your corporate reputation in such times is essential to mitigating potential damages to the company's brand. No one disagrees about that.

Yet, when it comes to protecting the corporate rep., many senior legal officers have outdated strategies or no strategies at all, according to the inaugural edition of Greentarget's Litigation Communication Survey.

Arbitration remains an essential litigation prevention tool, and one that's regularly been given favorable legal treatment by the Supreme Court and Congress.

But two recent opinions, one from the Supreme Court and one from the Fourth Circuit, serve as an important reminder of some of the limits to arbitration agreements, at least when it comes to choice of law provisions. Here's a quick review.

Life Will Get Tougher With E.U.'s New Patent Court

Most of the EU member state-countries have already signed on to ratify the Unified Patent Court agreement and only a few more states are left before this thing becomes reality. Rumor has it that Germany and the UK are already inking up and the UPC will be up and running by 2017.

Are You a Trademark Bully?

By now, we've all heard of patent trolls, but now is a good time for us to visit its lesser known cousin, the trademark bully. And yes, just like copyright bullies and the patent troll, they're not particularly loved. The reasons for their existence, unsurprisingly is related to the complexities of Intellectual Property practice.

Are you (or your company) a trademark bully? To find out, take a look at the list of symptoms below.