The U.S. Supreme Court recently resolved a circuit split regarding the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), specifically weighing in on the “exceeds authorized access” provision of the statute. The CFAA subjects to criminal liability anyone who “intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access.” READ MORE
Caroline practices at the intersection of cybersecurity, data, government enforcement, and intellectual property. Her interdisciplinary expertise enables her to guide her clients through crises, respond to cybersecurity incidents, and manage enterprise risk strategically, effectively, and efficiently.
Caroline helps companies across diverse industries and verticals develop effective responses to cyberattacks and privacy incidents that deftly manage reputational, litigation, and financial risk. She is regularly engaged by clients to develop proactive security response programs, and when needed, design and conduct internal investigations to help determine root cause(s) and formulate strategies for organizations to enhance their cybersecurity program. Her extensive litigation and trial experience—including in the areas of criminal defense, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), trade secret misappropriation, and IP—allows her to see around corners to identify and manage key legal and litigation risks, and proactively prepare her clients’ defense strategies against high-stakes litigation and government and regulatory enforcement investigations and actions.
Posts by: Caroline Simons
Last week, we examined the recent Third Circuit decision in Advanced Fluid Systems, which held that a trade secrets plaintiff did not need to be an owner or a licensee of the alleged trade secrets to bring a state law misappropriation claim under Pennsylvania’s UTSA—all that was required was that the plaintiff had “lawful possession” of the trade secrets. In so holding, the Third Circuit added to the weight of the Fourth Circuit’s similar analysis of Maryland’s UTSA in DTM Research, L.L.C. v. AT&T Corp., 245 F.3d 327 (4th Cir. 2001).
An ongoing, headline-grabbing trade secret theft prosecution against a Chinese spy is also quietly presenting a, say, disquieting attempt by prosecutors to stretch the law on what it is required to plead and prove. On the civil side, when a plaintiff sues for trade secret theft, there’s almost always a hotly contested point of proof on whether the alleged stolen material is really a trade secret. It’s well-established, though, that when the government charges a defendant criminally with the inchoate forms of trade secret theft—attempt or conspiracy being the two spelled out under the Economic Espionage Act—the government has no burden to prove that the underlying information was actually a trade secret. (Loyal readers will recall our recent post on United States v. O’Rourke, where the defendant tried to argue otherwise at sentencing.) Now, in a brief filed just last week, the government seems to be taking this one step further and arguing that it has no duty even to identify the trade secrets at issue. READ MORE