The common denominators of trade secret theft and corporate espionage

The methods used to compromise U.S. trade secret assets are broad and varied, but the cases and investigations do reveal a few common denominators

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimates that every year billions of U.S. dollars are lost to foreign and domestic competitors through corporate espionage leading to the theft of valuable trade secrets. Resources from the top levels of the U.S. government are focusing on this growing problem. Last year the White House issued a report outlining a new strategic plan to combat trade secret theft from U.S. businesses, stating that “[t]rade secret theft threatens American businesses, undermines national security, and places the security of the U.S. economy in jeopardy.”

Just who are these thieves that are compromising U.S. trade secret assets? According to the FBI, in many instances they are not outsiders but instead are corporate employees working within companies that have been targeted and compromised by outsiders. It is imperative that U.S. companies understand how the theft of intellectual property assets routinely occurs and have knowledge of the laws, resources and processes that are available to protect and defend against the theft.

Contributing Author

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Z Scott

Z Scott is a partner in Kaye Scholer’s White Collar Litigation & Internal Investigations Practice in Chicago. She concentrates her practice on complex commercial litigation,...

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Contributing Author

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Elizabeth Pozolo

Elizabeth Pozolo is a litigation associate in Kaye Scholer’s Chicago office. She has significant experience in complex commercial litigation matters, class actions and corporate internal...

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