Handling Trade Secrets

Corporate Espionage

It’s an age-old crime: stealing. But it’s not about picking a pocket or holding up a bank. It’s robbing people of their ideas, inventions, and creative expressions—what’s called intellectual property—everything from trade secrets and proprietary products and parts to movies and music and software. It’s a growing threat—especially with the rise of digital technologies and Internet file sharing networks. And much of the theft takes place overseas, where laws are often lax and enforcement more difficult. All told, intellectual property theft costs businesses billions of dollars a year and robs the nation of jobs and lost tax revenues. Preventing intellectual property theft is a priority of criminal investigative program. We specifically focus on the theft of trade secrets and infringements on products that can impact consumers’ health and safety, such as counterfeit software and electronic parts. Key to our success is linking the considerable resources and efforts of the private sector with law enforcement partners on local, state, federal, and international levels. Information with independent economic value, like blueprints, chemical formulas, research and development, marketing strategies, and manufacturing processes that the owner has taken reasonable steps to keep confidential. Several rules are now put in place to protect trade secrets from criminals and foreign governments in order to preserve the health and competitiveness of the economy.

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