Federal Trade Secret Theft Crimes

What Are Federal Trade Secret Theft Crimes?

Federal trade secret theft crimes refer to the illegal acquisition, use, or disclosure of trade secrets protected by federal laws in the United States. Trade secrets are valuable and confidential business information that gives a company a competitive advantage. Federal laws provide protection for trade secrets, and unauthorized access, theft, or misappropriation of these secrets can lead to criminal charges.

One primary federal law that addresses trade secret theft is the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) of 1996. Under this act, it is a federal crime to steal, receive, or possess trade secrets with the intent to benefit a foreign government, instrumentality, or agent. The EEA covers thefts committed for economic or commercial purposes that involve interstate or foreign commerce.

The EEA Distinguishes Between Two Types of Trade Secret Theft:

Economic Espionage: This involves the theft of trade secrets with the intent to benefit a foreign entity. It applies to both individuals and organizations engaged in economic espionage, which may include foreign governments or companies. Economic espionage can result in severe penalties, including significant fines and imprisonment for individuals convicted of the crime.

Theft of Trade Secrets: This refers to the theft, misappropriation, or unauthorized use of trade secrets for commercial or economic gain. It can involve individuals or organizations and does not require a foreign connection. The penalties for theft of trade secrets can also include substantial fines and imprisonment.

It is important to note that federal trade secret theft crimes are investigated and prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and can lead to significant legal consequences if convicted.


Penalties for federal trade secret theft crimes can vary depending on the specific offense and the circumstances involved, as well as the defendant’s criminal history and level of remorse. The following are some potential penalties:

Economic Espionage Act (EEA) Violation:

Individual Offense: A person convicted under the EEA for trade secret theft can face fines of up to $5 million for individuals or up to $10 million for organizations.

Imprisonment: Individuals may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 10 years.
Theft of Trade Secrets (18 U.S.C. § 1832):

Individual Offense: A person convicted under this statute may face fines up to $500,000 or twice the value of the stolen trade secret (whichever is greater) for individuals or up to $5 million for organizations.

Imprisonment: Individuals may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 10 years.

It’s important to note that these penalties are general guidelines, and the actual punishment may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the value of the stolen trade secrets, the level of harm caused, and the defendant’s criminal history. Additionally, state laws may also impose penalties for trade secret theft.

What Does a Federal Trade Secret Theft Crime Defense Attorney Do?

A federal trade secret theft crime defense attorney specializes in handling legal matters related to trade secret theft at the federal level. Trade secret theft refers to the unlawful acquisition, use, or disclosure of confidential and proprietary information that provides a competitive advantage to a business or individual.

Here are some of the key responsibilities of a federal trade secret theft crime attorney:

Legal Representation: The attorney represents individuals or businesses accused of trade secret theft or those who have been victimized by such theft. They defend their client’s rights and interests throughout the legal process.

Case Evaluation: The attorney evaluates the facts and evidence surrounding the trade secret theft case to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case and the defense strategies that can be employed.

Legal Advice: They provide legal advice to their clients, explaining the laws pertaining to trade secret theft and the potential consequences they may face if convicted. They also advise on how to protect trade secrets and maintain compliance with applicable laws.

Investigation: The attorney conducts a thorough investigation into the alleged trade secret theft, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and identifying any potential defenses or mitigating factors.

Defense Strategy: Based on the facts and evidence collected, the attorney develops a defense strategy tailored to their client’s specific case. This may involve challenging the validity of the allegations, questioning the evidence presented, or asserting legal defenses.

Negotiations: In some cases, the attorney may negotiate with the prosecution to reach a favorable resolution, such as reduced charges or a plea agreement, on behalf of their client.

Court Representation: If the case goes to trial, the attorney represents their client in court, presenting arguments, examining witnesses, and cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses. They strive to build a strong defense and challenge the prosecution’s case.

Legal Documentation: The attorney prepares and files legal documents, such as motions, briefs, and appeals, as necessary throughout the legal proceedings.

Legal Research: They stay updated on federal trade secret laws, relevant court decisions, and any changes in legislation to provide the most effective legal representation to their clients.

Damage Assessment and Remedies: If their client is a victim of trade secret theft, the attorney may help assess the extent of the damage suffered, calculate financial losses, and pursue remedies such as injunctions, monetary compensation, or other appropriate legal measures.

Overall, a federal trade secret theft crime attorney works diligently to protect the rights and interests of their clients and navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding trade secret theft at the federal level.

Given the complexity and significance of federal trade secret theft crimes, federal trade secret theft crimes defense attorneys must be skilled in all aspects of criminal defense law. Our attorneys are admitted to practice in federal court and have represented clients charged in federal court for over three decades. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to provide the best possible defense of these charges.

To schedule a Strategy Session with an experienced federal trade secret theft crimes attorney, contact the Attorneys For Freedom today. We can be reached online at AttorneysForFreedom.com or by calling our Arizona office at 480-755-7110 or our Hawai’i office at 808-647-2423.


Arizona Office Address:
3185 S. Price Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85248
Phone: 480-755-7110
Hawai’i Office Address:
1003 Bishop Street, Suite 1260 Pauahi Tower
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813
Phone: 808-647-2423
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