Economic Espionage

Aviation Contractor Glides Away From Liability After Receiving Unsolicited Email Containing Trade Secrets

If a third party sends you someone’s trade secrets, and you delete them as soon as you know they’re trade secrets, you’re off the hook for misappropriation.

That, in a nutshell, is what a Florida federal judge held on January 14, when he dismissed Dyncorp International LLC’s allegations that rival contractor AAR Airlift Group, Inc. stole trade secrets to gain an unfair advantage in securing a multibillion-dollar government contract. The contract, which Dyncorp had performed for more than 20 years, was to provide aviation support to the U.S. State Department for its counter-narcotics operations. READ MORE

Ninth Circuit Hears Oral Arguments in United States v. Nosal, Part II

On October 20, 2015, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in Round II of United States v. David Nosal.  Both sides generally stuck with arguments from their briefs, with Nosal’s counsel arguing that upholding Nosal’s  conviction under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (the “CFAA”) would lead to criminalization of relatively minor misappropriations of information, and the government arguing that the precedent would only apply in the employment context. READ MORE

Final TPP Language on Trade Secret Protection Disclosed

On October 5, 2015, years of protracted negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPP”) concluded. The TPP is a proposed trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim nations that lowers trade barriers such as tariffs, establishes intellectual property protections, creates labor and environmental standards, and creates a framework for resolving disputes between member nations. The 12 nations participating in those negotiations are Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Chile, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Colombia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, and the United States. Conspicuously absent are the People’s Republic of China, Macao, Russia, and North Korea. READ MORE

Throwback Thursday: Why Trade Secret Theft Isn’t Just a Digital Problem And What Businesses Can Do About It

With stories of cyberattacks and data breaches on a seemingly endless loop, businesses and governments have been doubling down on their efforts to protect digital information and assets.  But, in some industries, the greatest threat might still be a pair of quick hands.  For instance, in the restaurant industry, opening the kitchen doors to a new employee creates real risks.  As we’ve discussed, sometimes the decision whether to print or download can have major legal ramifications.  And with computer forensics technology growing in leaps and bounds, sometimes an old-school paper trail might be more enticing to would-be perps than a digital one.  That said, the FBI has a track record of turning up bags of shredded documents in grocery store dumpsters. READ MORE

A Preview of the CFAA Arguments in United States v. Nosal, Part II: Could “Phishing” be a Factor?

Oral arguments for the next round in United States v. Nosal have been set for October 20, 2015 at the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.  So we figured it may be a good time to review both sides’ arguments related to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. After doing so, it seems to us that one topic not given any consideration in the briefs, but that may play a role during oral argument is the phenomenon known as phishing schemes, and how such schemes might be compared and contrasted with the scheme alleged in this case. READ MORE

Once More, With Feeling! Congress Swings for the Fences with the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015

On July 28, broad bipartisan support ushered the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015” onto the floor of both the House and Senate. This DTSA treads the well-worn path of many similar (and, to date, hapless) bills that fruitlessly preceded it. TSW has exhaustively covered prior attempts, aptly titling our first post “Pols Gone Wild: Congress Discovers Trade Secret Theft and Cybersecurity Are Problems; We Sort Through the Explosion of Legislation”—chart and all. READ MORE

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

Hacking Your Rivals – Corporate Espionage in Major League Baseball

As we approach the dog days of summer, baseball season is again in full bloom. We previously discussed old-fashioned sign stealing in the context of teams trying to gain a competitive advantage during an actual game. But it appears these hijinks have evolved in today’s electronic world. As the New York Times first reported, the FBI and Department of Justice prosecutors are investigating front-office personnel for the St. Louis Cardinals, one of Major League Baseball’s most beloved franchises, for allegedly infiltrating the internal network of the Houston Astros. READ MORE

The New Space Race: Protecting Trade Secrets on the Final Frontier

Space: The final frontier.  For millennia, people have wanted to explore the great unknown of outer space, and series like Star Trek and Star Wars continue to our fuel our fantasies about what lies beyond our stratosphere.  This fascination, as well as countries’ desires to maintain their military prowess, led to the First Space Race after World War II.  Today, while NASA’s dominance may have fizzled out, private companies have embarked on a commercialized space race to gain market dominance from their designs. Indeed, the House of Representatives recently passed the SPACE Act to enable commercial space mining activities. READ MORE

Will We See Federal Trade Secret Legislation Passed This Year?

In January of this year, we noted that trade secret protection has lately been on the minds of lawmakers in Washington, and that federal trade secret legislation was very close to being enacted.  While nothing is pending at the moment, we can expect renewed efforts similar to two bills that were introduced in Congress last year – one each in the Senate and House.  In anticipation of such efforts, we thought it would be useful to review what happened in 2014. READ MORE