The Economic Espionage Act (EEA) of 1996 was enacted by the US Congress to address the issue of foreign and domestic economic espionage. The act defines economic espionage as “the theft or misappropriation, including the unauthorized use, disclosure, or copying of trade secrets in order for someone other than their rightful owner to benefit economically” and makes it a criminal offense punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. The EEA has been an effective tool in combating corporate espionage; however, there are several areas which can be improved upon.
One way to improve on the current EEA would be to expand its scope beyond just trade secrets. This could include adding provisions that target other forms of intellectual property such as copyrightable works, trademarks, patents, etc., as well as expanding existing protections for trade secrets. Additionally, better enforcement measures need to be implemented in order for this legislation to have any real teeth; increasing penalties for those found guilty of violating the law is also essential if we are serious about curbing economic espionage activities. Furthermore, updated definitions should be included in the legislation which clearly outline what constitutes a violation so that law enforcement authorities can easily identify offenders and take appropriate legal action against them. Finally, more resources need to be allocated towards investigating cases related to corporate espionage; FBI agents with expertise on this subject matter should become more widely available so that they can help track down suspects who may have violated the EEA.