The White House released Feb. 20 a strategy for mitigating the theft of U.S. trade secrets. The introduction to the strategy states that it reflects a commitment to act vigorously to combat the theft of trade secrets that could be used by foreign companies or foreign governments to gain an unfair economic edge. However, many of the specific initiatives set forth in the strategy are merely a continuation of existing efforts.
According to the introduction, emerging trends indicate that the pace of economic espionage and trade secret theft against U.S. corporations is accelerating. Foreign competitors of U.S. corporations, some with ties to foreign governments, have increased their efforts to steal trade secret information through the recruitment of current or former employees. There are also indications that U.S. companies, law firms, academia and financial institutions are experiencing cyber intrusion activity against electronic repositories containing trade secret information. These activities threaten U.S. businesses, diminish U.S. export prospects and undermine U.S. national and economic security.