What is the Economic Espionage Act?

The Economic Espionage Act (EEA) makes the theft or misappropriation of trade secrets a criminal offense. The act defines trade secrets as "all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic or engineering information" that the owner has taken reasonable measures to keep secret and that is not known to the public. The law applies to any individual or organization that knowingly steals, copies, receives, buys or possesses trade secrets.

For the EEA to apply, the organization or individual must be able to show that they took "reasonable measures" to protect the information.

Dumpster diving is not illegal

"Dumpster diving" is just one common tactic used to gain trade secrets. It involves collecting and going through trash left out for collection from residences and businesses. Stealing trash is not illegal. The Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that once an item is in the trash there is no expectation of privacy or continued ownership.

Penalties for violation

A person convicted can be imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined $250,000 and an organization can be fined up to $5,000,000.

How do I comply?

EEA does not stipulate compliance requirements; however, it is important to understand that companies must be able to show that they took "reasonable measures" to protect trade secrets.

How can Ohio Mobile Shredding help?

Your trade secrets are the only thing that distinguishes you from your competition and their loss could be devastating. OMS can help you implement a consistent, reliable, and cost-effective shredding program that protects your trade secrets and, should a breach occur, proves that you have taken "reasonable measures" to protect them. Our comprehensive Audit Trail and Certificate of Destruction is your best defense!

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