Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1831 and 1832 [July 25, 2014] [open pdf - 311KB]
"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. Section 1832 (theft) violations are punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or a fine of not more than $250,000 (not more than $5 million for organizations), or both. Section 1831 (espionage) violations by individuals are punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, or a fine of the greater of not more than $5 million, or both. Section 1831 violations by organizations are punishable by a fine of not more than the greater of $10 million or three times the value of the stolen trade secret. Maximum fines for both individuals and organizations may be higher when the amount of the gain or loss associated with the offense is substantial. Any attempt or conspiracy to commit either offense carries the same penalties as the underlying crime."
CRS Report for Congress, R42681