Law Library

Book will guide attorneys through economic ­espionage, trade secret theft cases

Intellectual capital is the driving force of the new era. Concepts, ideas and images — not things — are the real items of value in the new economy. Wealth is no longer vested in physical capital but rather in human imagination and creativity.

A new American Bar Association handbook, “The Economic Espionage Act:  A Practitioner’s Guide,” is a practical guide for prosecutors, defense lawyers and the court system as the investigation and prosecution of economic espionage and trade secret theft assume a more central place in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Topics include:

• Enforcing the Economic Espionage Act

• Investigating Violations of the EEA

• Section 1831: Economic Espionage

• Section 1832: Theft of Trade Secrets

• Protecting Trade Secrets During Criminal Proceedings

• Multiple Prosecutions

• International Enforcement of the EEA

• Civil Remedies Under the EEA

Since the EEA was enacted in 1996, it has steadily taken on a more important and visible role as a law enforcement tool. In enacting the EEA, Congress cited a 1995 survey in which nearly one-half of corporate respondents reported having experienced a trade secret theft. By 2011, the security firm McAfee reported that “every company in every conceivable industry with significant size and valuable intellectual property and trade secrets has been compromised (or will be shortly).”

In 1999, then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder said that because intellectual property theft was “soaring,” the Department of Justice had “concluded that we must make these types of crime a major law enforcement priority.” The department promulgated what Holder called “the first, comprehensive inter-agency plan to combat the growing surge in the theft of intellectual property.” In 2013, Holder reported that between 2000 and 2010, DOJ had “secured well over 100 convictions in cases involving criminal trade secret thefts.”