Tag Archives: theft of trade secrets

Uncle Sam Wants You To Mitigate The Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets

On February 20, 2013, the White House published an “Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets.” While the Strategy takes a macroeconomic view of, and approach to, the problems of trade secret theft, readers of this blog should consider the possibility that they may have practical experience in the future with one of the Strategy’s particular action items: promoting voluntary best practices by private industry to protect trade secrets.

In the Strategy, while couching its recommendations in the context of protecting the innovation that drives the American economy and supports jobs in the United States, the Obama Administration undertakes to pursue five action items: (1) focus diplomatic efforts to protect trade secrets overseas, (2) promote voluntary best practices by private industry, (3) enhance domestic law enforcement operations, (4) improve domestic legislation, and (5) public awareness and stakeholder outreach.

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Once Again, An Alleged International Trade Secrets Heist Draws A Federal Indictment

* Co-authored by Viktoria Lovei.

As we have noted in prior blog posts, alleged thefts of trade secrets are generally handled through the civil court system, and rarely result in criminal prosecution. Nevertheless, where there is an international component to the case or where the magnitude of the alleged theft is particularly significant, the prosecuting authorities will step in, as recently happened in Chicago.

Last week, Chunlai Yang, a former senior software engineer for Chicago-based CME Group, Inc., was indicted in federal court in Chicago and charged with two counts of theft of trade secrets. In the indictment, the government alleges that Yang stole the global exchange operator’s proprietary source code while pursuing, and in furtherance of, business plans to improve a chemical electronic trading exchange in China. Each count against Yang carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The government also seeks forfeiture of computers and equipment allegedly used by Yang as well as any property or proceeds derived from his alleged criminal actions. Yang pled not guilty earlier this week.

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