Federal Defense Attorney Explains Protection of Trade Secrets

Many businesses within the United States are successful because they have proprietary processes or proprietary formulas in place. For example, the recipe for soft drinks such as Coca Cola is a closely guarded secret in order to ensure that other companies cannot replicate the drink and begin making and selling Coca Cola themselves.

There are intellectual property laws that protect these trade secrets, and many companies use private contracts such as non-compete and non-disclosure agreements to add an additional layer of protection for their most important information. However, these civil laws are not the only ones that apply to protect private and confidential information. There are actual federal criminal laws related to trade secrets.

Federal criminal laws that apply to trade secrets make many different kinds of misconduct illegal. Those who violate these criminal laws could be charged with serious offenses and could potentially face jail time in a federal prison if convicted of the crime they’ve been accused of.

If you are facing charges for a criminal violation of trade secrets laws, you need to understand that your reputation, freedom, and future are at stake and you need to act accordingly.

LV Criminal Defense can help. Our federal criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience providing representation to clients who have been accused of violating trade secrets laws. We know the ins-and-outs of the federal criminal laws applicable in these situations very well and we can provide personalized help fighting charges or negotiating a plea agreement to reduce the likelihood you will be convicted.

You should give us a call as soon as possible when you’ve been accused of a crime related to trade secrets so we can get to work advocating for you and building a defense strategy aimed at helping you navigate the federal criminal justice system unscathed.

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


Federal Criminal Laws on Protection of Trade Secrets

Federal criminal laws on protection of trade secrets are found in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 90. The relevant statutes include the following:

  • 18 U.S. Code section 1831Economic espionage: This statute imposes a penalty of up to 15 years of imprisonment and a fine up to $5 million for individuals engaging in economic espionage. For organizations that engage in economic espionage, the maximum penalty is $10,000,000 or three times the value of the stolen trade secret, including expenses for research, for design, and for other costs the thieving company avoided by stealing the information.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1832Theft of trade secrets: Those who steal trade secrets can be penalized by up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine for theft of trade secrets as defined by 18 U.S. Code section 1832. If a company steals trade secrets, the company could face penalties including up to $5 million in fines or 3 times the value of the stolen trade secret.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1833 – Exceptions to prohibitions: This statute makes clear that an individual should not be found liable for violations of offenses in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 90 if they make a confidential disclosure of a trade secret in a court filing or to the government. It also makes clear that 18 U.S. Code Chapter 90 doesn’t create a private right of action for otherwise lawful activity conducted by governments or states. It also establishes the rules for the use of trade secret information in anti-retaliation lawsuits.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1834Criminal forfeiture: Under this statute, federal law makes clear that forfeiture, destruction, and restitution rules are subject to provisions found in 18 U.S. code section 2323.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1835 – Orders to preserve confidentiality: This statute protects the rights of trade secret owners and establishes that courts should take action necessary to try to protect confidentiality of trade secrets during criminal proceedings.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1836 – Civil proceedings: This statute gives the attorney general the authority to obtain an injunction in a civil case in connection with the provisions set forth in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 90.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1837 – Applicability to conduct outside the United States: In this statute, federal law makes clear that laws on trade secrets found in this code section apply outside of the United States when the act is in furtherance of an offense committed in the U.S. or when the offender is connected to the U.S. such as a citizen or permanent resident.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1838 – Construction with other laws: According to this statute, the laws contained within 18 U.S. Code section 90 do not pre-empt civil or criminal rules or proceedings being undertaken by other courts.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1839 – Definitions: This statute defines the words used through 18 U.S. Code Chapter 90, including foreign instrumentality, foreign agent, trade secret, owner, misappropriation, and more.

Because there are so many different statutes, defendants need to know the specifics of what a prosecutor has to prove for the exact crime the defendant is accused of committing.

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Getting help from a Federal Criminal Lawyer

LV Criminal Defense can provide help to defendants accused of violating federal laws related to trade secrets protections. Our legal team knows the ins and outs of the law and is prepared to help handle complex cases related to the alleged theft of secrets. Because the laws can be highly technical in this area and because it can often be difficult to prove the specifics of a defendant’s actions, it is important to have an attorney who understands how to introduce reasonable doubt to help you avoid conviction.

We have successfully represented defendants in Arizona, Utah, California, Nevada, Oregon, and surrounding areas accused of violating laws related to trade secrets. To find out more about how we can help you if you’re accused of wrongdoing, give us a call today.

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When I initially met with Mr. Wooldridge, he took the opportunity to sit and go over my problem with me. He described details in my case which he found disturbing and explained why he I should have him on my side.

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