New Strategy for Preventing Trade Secret Theft

In the wake of reports than Chinese hackers are infiltrating U.S. companies and stealing valuable trade secrets, the Obama Administration announced a new strategy for combating trade secret theft.

As highlighted in the underlying report, trade secret theft is increasing on a number of fronts. “Foreign competitors of U.S. corporations, some with ties to foreign governments, have increased their efforts to steal trade secret information through the recruitment of current or former employees. Additionally, there are indications that U.S. companies, law firms, academia, and financial institutions are experiencing cyber intrusion activity against electronic repositories containing trade secret information,” the Administration noted.

With these threats in mind, the new U.S. trade secret strategy contains five action items:

Focus Diplomatic Efforts to Protect Trade Secrets Overseas: The Obama Administration will take steps to ensure that trading partners treat trade secret theft as a serious issue. This includes utilizing trade policy tools, cooperative enforcement agreements, capacity building, and education to increase international enforcement against trade secret theft

Promote Voluntary Best Practices by Private Industry to Protect Trade Secrets: The U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) will work with appropriate U.S. government agencies to help facilitate efforts by organizations and companies to develop industry led best practices to protect trade secrets.

Enhance Domestic Law Enforcement Operations: The Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation will continue to make the investigation and prosecution of corporate and state sponsored trade secret theft a top priority. The Administration also plans to increase law enforcement and intelligence information sharing with the goal of preventing and detecting trade secret theft.

Improve Domestic Legislation: Following up on recent amendments to the Economic Espionage Act, the Administration will review existing federal laws to determine if legislative changes are needed to enhance enforcement against trade secret theft. The initial review process will conclude within 120 days from the date of the strategy’s release. The Administration will then recommend to Congress any proposed legislative changes resulting from this review process.

Public Awareness and Stakeholder Outreach: The Administration will continue efforts to help mitigate the theft of trade secrets by encouraging all stakeholders, including the general public, to be aware of the detrimental effects of misappropriation on trade secret owners and the U.S. economy in general. The Department of Commerce, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and International Trade Administration will all conduct outreach efforts in coming months.

How Can I Help?

While many of these strategies are not new, they do signal that the U.S. government plans to place greater emphasis on trade secret theft. For specific information about what you or your company can do to protect your proprietary information, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +


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