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Posts Tagged: "espionage"

Republicans Propose Legislation to Deny Visas to Those Accused of IP Theft

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have introduced a bill titled the Protecting America from Spies Act, which targets individuals who have committed or may in the future commit U.S. intellectual property theft. The legislation comes soon after reports of Chinese and Russian attempts to steal COVID-19 related IP and research in the race to a vaccine to end the pandemic. On July 22, the Department of State ordered the Chinese Consulate in Houston to close, citing evidence of “espionage and intellectual property theft.”

Capitol Hill Roundup

This week on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives will host almost every hearing that will relate to technology and innovation, including three hearings originally scheduled for last week but moved due to the national day of mourning for former President George H. W. Bush. Hearings in the House will focus on topics including advanced fuels for next generation engines, efforts to speed the development of innovative medical treatments, legislation for freeing up broadband Internet spectrum for public use and government IT acquisition processes. Over in the Senate, there will be a hearing in the middle of the week on Chinese espionage that will explore how entities in that country have been involved in cyberattacks and Internet piracy against American targets.

Was America’s Industrial Revolution Based on Trade Secret Theft?

Is it reasonable to say that the U.S. got an unfair head start on the Industrial Revolution by stealing secrets from Britain? I don’t think so. Industrial espionage had been practiced in Europe throughout the 18th Century, with the British and French particularly active, even using diplomats to get access to valuable commercial information. Moreover, Britain, like some other European countries, frequently granted “patents of importation,” which didn’t require the applicant to be an inventor, if the invention was new within the country’s borders. In this way, governments regularly encouraged people to “steal” ideas from abroad and bring them home. This opportunistic behavior by nations was seen as acceptable only because of the mercantilist attitude of the time, where national interest was all that mattered. It would be another hundred years before international treaties were established to guarantee respect for foreign intellectual property laws, creating the more integrated environment for IP that promotes global commerce today.

Available Remedies under the DTSA

The DTSA amends the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (“EEA”) to provide for civil remedies in federal courts for the misappropriation of trade secrets. The new Section 1836(b) provides for both equitable and monetary relief. Subsection 1836(b)(3) authorizes a federal court to grant an injunction to prevent actual or threatened misappropriation of trade secrets. The language is identical to § 2 of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”). However, there are a number of limitations as to when a court may issue an injunction under the DTSA. First, the injunction may not “(I) prevent a person from entering into an employment relationship, and that conditions placed on such employment shall be based on evidence of threatened misappropriation and not merely on the information the person knows ….” Section 1836(b)(3)(A)(i)(I).

It’s Time for Congress to Start Protecting Trade Secrets

While trade secrets have become more important, advances in electronics like flash drives and smartphones have made data theft almost infinitely easier and faster. And unlike the threats of a generation ago, when trade secret theft typically benefited a local competitor, globalization of business means that today’s insiders often steal on behalf of companies located in other states or countries.

Trade Secrets: Managing Information Assets in the Age of Cyberespionage

The titans of the 19th Century made fortunes because they controlled access to the raw materials and infrastructure of commerce: steel, oil, lumber, railroads, canals, shipping. In contrast, the Third Industrial Revolution creates value not just from ideas that improve our ability to transform materials, but from information itself. This shift to intangible assets has been profound, but so swift that few have paid sufficient attention to the magnitude of the change. In the Information Age, your secrets – a new technology, a business plan, insights extracted from data analytics – define your competitive advantage. And because business is global, competition can emerge anywhere, anytime.