Have you ever wondered how Coca-Cola continues to dominate the soda industry? It comes down to one thing: The recipe the company uses to produce its iconic Classic Coca-Cola. The recipe is considered a trade secret in that only a few of the good folks at the company know what is in the recipe.
Coca-Cola’s recipe is just of hundreds of thousands of trade secrets used throughout the world. Trade secrets often give companies a competitive edge in a hyper-competitive industry. Secrets that help companies get an edge over their competitors cover virtually every type of industry. From the manufacturing of semiconductors to the design of high-performance jet skis, trade secrets represent the most important factor in determining a company’s success.
What is the Definition of a Trade Secret?
The legal definition of a trade secret varies depending on the jurisdiction where a civil trial is held for trade secret theft. United States law broadly defines a trade secret as information that companies take steps to protect because the trade secret generates financial value. To be eligible for a trade secret designation, the information protected by a company must not be accessible to the public, as well as to other companies.
How are Trade Secret Theft Cases Prosecuted?
The United States Economic Act of 1996 makes the theft or misappropriation of trade secrets a crime that is punishable by federal law. Prior to the passage of the federal law, states enacted and enforced trade secret theft laws. However, 50 states led to the creation of 50 different trade secret theft laws. The federal law passed in early 1997 made trade secret theft statutes uniform in nature.
How Does the Federal Law Define Trade Secret Theft?
The United States Economic Espionage Act of 1996 created two primary crime categories.
According to the federal law, trade secret theft consists of the following:
“Whoever, intending or knowing that the offense will benefit any foreign government, foreign instrumentality, or foreign agent, knowingly
- steals or without authorization appropriates, takes, carries away, or conceals, or by fraud, artifice, or deception obtains a trade secret;
- without authorization copies, duplicates, sketches, draws, photographs, downloads, uploads, alters, destroys, photocopies, replicates, transmits, delivers, sends, mails, communicates, or conveys a trade secret;
- receives, buys, or possesses a trade secret, knowing the same to have been stolen or appropriated, obtained, or converted without authorization;
- attempts to commit any offense described in any of paragraphs (1) through (3); or
- conspires with one or more other persons to commit any offense described in any paragraphs (1) through (3), and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy shall be liable for the recited penalties.”
Getting the Legal Help That You Deserve
Stolen trade secrets can have a devastating impact on a business. The result is a business wants to recover all of the money lost because of the theft of its most valued information. If you face a criminal charge of trade secret theft, you should act with a sense of urgency by contacting a California-licensed criminal defense lawyer.
When you contact criminal defense attorney Dan E. Chambers, you can expect to schedule a free case evaluation that determines the best course of legal action. You should come prepared by collecting and organizing any evidence that can help you win an acquittal or even better, force the prosecution to drop all charges. Our goal is to prevent criminal cases from reaching the trial stage, but if we go to trial, we go to trial better prepared than the prosecutor.
Schedule a free case evaluation today by calling the Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088.