Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1831 and 1832 [August 28, 2012] [open pdf - 261KB]
"Stealing a trade secret is a federal crime when the information relates to a product in interstate or foreign commerce, 18 U.S.C. 1832 (theft of trade secrets), or when the intended beneficiary is a foreign power, 18 U.S.C. 1831 (economic espionage). Section 1832 requires that the thief be aware that the misappropriation will injure the secret's owner to the benefit of someone else. Section 1831 requires only that the thief intend to benefit a foreign government or one of its instrumentalities. […] The House has passed the Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act (H.R. 6029) that would instruct the United States Sentencing Commission to examine the sufficiency of federal sentencing guidelines and policies in the area of stealing trade secrets and economic espionage. The Senate Judiciary Committee has reported comparable language favorably under the same name (S. 678). The House bill would also increase the penalties for economic espionage offenses under 18 U.S.C. 1831. Neither bill would change the sanctions for stealing trade secrets under 18 U.S.C. 1832. This report is available in an abridged version, without footnotes or attribution, as CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report R42682, 'Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Abridged Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1831 and 1832.'"
CRS Report for Congress, R42681