The Economic Espionage Act: Bear Trap or Mousetrap?
51 Pages Posted: 22 May 2002
Since its passage in 1996, the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) has been the subject of intense debate and discussion. Criminal penalties for both individuals and corporations violating the Act are severe. Expectations of protection against foreign and domestic trade secret misappropriation have also been raised.
This article does the following: First, it reviews some of the reasons behind the increase in trade secret misappropriation activities in recent years. Next, it provides an overview of Congress' response to the problem of trade secret theft - the passage of the EEA. The authors also obtained the case docket sheets and indictments in each of the cases filed by the government under the Act as of the date of the publication of this article; those cases are summarized in the article; and it then discusses the lessons to be gleaned from these cases. Thus, this piece will be of interest and value to a wide audience - law professors, judges, government prosecutors and policy makers, white-collar criminal defense attorneys, in-house attorneys, risk managers, and a variety of businesses. Finally, the article discusses the steps that businesses should take in light of these case developments to develop and implement an effective Trade Secret Compliance Plan so they can seek the protection of the Act when necessary, as well as avoid becoming a criminal defendant under the Act.
Keywords: Economic Espionage Act, EEA, economic espionage, industrial espionage, intellectual property, trade secrets, trade secret theft, trade secret misappropriation, trade secret protection, trade secret compliance program, internet crime, cyber crime, computer crime, internet law, cyber law and risk management
JEL Classification: K1, K2, K3, K4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation