Criminal

500,000 Lines of Source Code: The New “Intangible Property”

Sergey Aleynikov’s six-year trade secret odyssey through all possible configurations of litigation, civil and criminal, federal and state, may at long last have come to an end after the New York Supreme Court recently overturned his only surviving criminal conviction for unlawful use of secret scientific material. We here at Trade Secrets Watch have closely tracked Aleynikov’s journey, recently reporting on his newest victory, and previously covering his convoluted trials and tribulations. In particular, prior to the recent New York Supreme Court decision, the Second Circuit overturned Aleynikov’s convictions under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) and the National Stolen Property Act (NSPA), which also led to a change in the EEA legislation. READ MORE

Kolon Finally Served With Criminal Summons in Korea, Subsequently Settles for $360 Million

On April 30, 2015, Kolon Industries finally resolved two long-standing disputes regarding its alleged misappropriation of trade secrets related to DuPont Co.’s bullet-proof Kevlar Material.  The settlement resolved a six-year civil dispute with competitor DuPont, as well as an Economic Espionage Act criminal indictment that had been pending for three years.  According to the terms of the plea agreement filed with the court, Kolon will pay $275 million in restitution to DuPont and $85 million to the government in fines. READ MORE

First Foreign Hacker Is Convicted In The United States Of Hacking Crimes Involving Theft Of Trade Secrets From American Companies

A 22-year-old Canadian hacker has been sentenced to federal prison by a Delaware court for engaging in a conspiracy to break into the computer networks of several large gaming companies, to steal trade secret and other information related to unreleased products, and to commit criminal copyright infringement.  According to the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum, David Pokora of Ontario, sentenced last Thursday was “a leading member in an international computer hacking ring . . . that committed numerous unlawful intrusions into the computer networks of various technology companies involved in the $22 billion-dollar video gaming industry.”  The conspiracy’s victims included Microsoft, Epic Games (which develops the highly popular “Gears of War” series), and Activision Blizzard (which published, among many other successful games, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3”). READ MORE

Back in a Flash: Sergey “Flash Boy” Aleynikov Returns to Court for New Trial

Sergey Aleynikov’s six-year odyssey through the U.S. judicial systems—both federal and state—continues.  Last week, Aleynikov stepped into a New York State courtroom to defend himself at trial against a pair of criminal charges stemming from his 2009 arrest for allegedly stealing source code for one of Goldman Sachs  high-frequency trading platforms.  If convicted on the two counts – unlawful use of secret scientific material and unlawful duplication of computer-related material – Aleynikov could face a return trip to prison for up to eight years. READ MORE

POTUS Declares Cybercrime a National Emergency, Announces New Penalties for Trade Secrets Theft

Declaring cybercrime a “national emergency,” President Obama today empowered Treasury to freeze assets that are the fruits of cybercrime, according to an Executive Order issued this afternoon. The agency can block money or property in the United States or in the control of any United States person determined to have engaged in “cyber-enabled activities” originating or directed from outside the United States. Targeted activities include harming computer networks in critical infrastructure sectors; significantly disrupting a computer network; or causing significant misappropriation of trade secrets and other protected information. The EO also enables seizure of money or property of any persons involved in misappropriating trade secrets by “cyber-enabled means” that impact the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States.

TSW is tracking the EO and will report further developments.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Role of Alleged Trade Secrets Forensic Evidence in the Amanda Knox Murder Case

Italy’s high court has taken up the appeal of Amanda Knox’s murder conviction in the 2007 murder of Knox’s British roommate in Italy.  A decision was expected as early as Wednesday, but with a full caseload, the judge has said a ruling may not be handed down until Friday.

The story has grabbed headlines for years, and while many of us are now all-too-familiar with the grisly details surrounding the case, most are not aware of the role trade secrets have played in the proceedings. READ MORE

Five Minutes With … National Security and Cybercrime Professor Ahmed Ghappour

This marks the inaugural “Five Minutes With” feature that Trade Secrets Watch will run occasionally.  These will be question-and-answers with notable figures in the trade secrets world.

TSW got a chance to sit down with UC Hastings College of the Law professor and Liberty, Security & Technology Clinic founder Ahmed Ghappour.  He had a lot to say about trade secrets, cybersecurity, and encrypting “all the things.”
 
TSW:  Ahmed, TSW is dying to know what you’ve been up to lately in the world of economic espionage.  What’s the inside scoop? READ MORE

Former Aerospace Engineer Pleads Guilty to Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Intended for Iran

Although it appears that the U.S. and Iran are moving closer to a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program, Iran’s allies appear to remain committed to acquiring military-grade technology from U.S. companies by way of engineers sympathetic to Iran.

According to an FBI press release, a former Pratt & Whitney engineer, Mr. Mozaffar Khazaee of Connecticut, pleaded guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act by attempting to send to Iran export-controlled trade secrets (such as technical manuals, specification sheets, etc.) relating to jet engines used in the U.S. Air Force’s F35 Joint Strike Fighter program and F-22 Raptor program. He now faces a possible 20 years in prison. The investigation revealed that Mr. Khazaee misappropriated the materials from at least three different defense contractors where he has worked since 2009. Mr. Khazaee is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran. READ MORE

White House Proposal: Beef Up Anti-Hacking Laws and Resolve a Circuit Split

President Obama wants to go where the Supreme Court refused to tread.  As part of his cybersecurity and privacy initiatives, which we discussed last week, the President would strengthen the federal anti-hacking provisions of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), including an expansion of activity covered by the statutory phrase “exceeds authorized access.”  In so doing, the President would resolve a circuit split between the First, Fifth, Eighth, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuits, on the one hand, and the Ninth and Fourth Circuits, on the other.  His reason?  “No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families.” READ MORE

Nosal Returns to the Ninth Circuit Posing the Question: Is a Password a Sufficient “Technological Access Barrier” Under the CFAA?

Observers following the legal issues surrounding the prosecution of David Nosal will be watching closely in 2015 as the former Korn Ferry executive returns to the Ninth Circuit to appeal his 2013 conviction on three counts of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. READ MORE