Saturday, February 18, 2006, 2/18/2006 01:01:00 PM

Trade Secrets Prosecutions -- U.S. Cybercrime Statistics

From the United States Department of Justice, the Cybercrime statistics showing prosecutions under the Economic Espionage Act ("EEA") for theft of trade secrets.

From 2000 through the end of 2005, federal prosecutors brought 34 cases under the EEA. Of that number, nearly half (15) were filed in the Northern District of California. That's five times the number of the next most prolific district, the Southern District of New York with three cases. Only three other districts -- the Western District of New York, the Southern District of Florida, and the Central District of California -- had multiple cases filed over the six-year period. Nine districts had one case each.

Interestingly, 86 federal judicial districts had no EEA prosecutions during the period. While in some cases businesses in those districts might not have had many trade secrets worth stealing, it's more likely that prosecutors simply weren't comfortable proceeding under a relatively novel federal statute.

Also, interesting was the classifications of the individuals indicted. The largest categories were ex-employees and competitors (and sometimes a combination of the two). However, company insiders were also indicted in a number of cases.

Prosecutions, while slow, appear to be picking up.

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