Known as the formula, idea, pattern, physical device, compilation or process that could give an individual a competitive edge in their respective industries, trade secrets have existed for centuries to some degree. These are protected in a manner that prevents competitors or the public from learning about the secret, and come with serious implications if one steals them.
Intentional theft of trade secrets violates state and federal laws, and is labeled a white collar crime in Nevada. More often than not, these are charged as federal crimes. If charged with or under investigation for stealing trade secrets, you should remain silent and seek the advice of an exemplary criminal defense lawyer.
A 6 title Act of Congress designed to address several issues during the height of the intellectual property boom, The Economic Espionage Act (EEA) criminalizes trade secret theft, including the theft, possession and copying of secrets that could be used to gain an unfair advantage in a given industry.
United States Attorney Generals can prosecute businesses or individuals involved in the unlawful possession or misappropriation of trade secrets in federal court. Only two states have adopted the EEA into their state laws – Alabama and California.
If convicted of stealing trade secrets under the EEA, one could face the following punishments:
Prosecution must present a preponderance of evidence that trade secrets were acquired illegally.
Criminal defense attorneys work tirelessly to poke holes in theories and collect evidence that may exonerate clients accused of stealing trade secrets. Over the years, the following defenses have been raised in court cases where EEA violations are alleged:
These are just some of the defenses an attorney will use to help their client lessen or dismiss charges.
Charges are normally brought against individuals after months or years of investigation, although in some cases video evidence implicates the person being investigated rather quickly. Regardless how much evidence federal agents have against you, under no circumstance should you talk to them without an attorney present.
Trade secret theft is serious, carrying penalties that will hurt individuals for many years after they are released from incarceration. If you are innocent of EEA violations and believe enough evidence exists to back your case, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.