Economic Espionage Act of 1996 Law and Legal Definition

Economic Espionage Act of 1996 is a U.S. federal statute, criminalizing the misappropriation of trade secrets. It provides criminal penalties for industrial espionage by or for a foreign entity. The Act authorizes civil proceedings by the Department of Justice to enjoin violations of the Act, but does not create a private cause of action. The Act applies only to a person who knowingly receives, purchases, or possesses stolen trade-secret information.

The Economic Espionage Act, 1996 has extraterritorial jurisdiction where:

(1) The offender is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; or

(2) The offender is an organization organized under the laws of the United States or any State or political subdivision thereof; or

(3) An act in furtherance of the offense was committed in the United States.

The provisions are codified at 18 USCA §§ 1831–1839. Economic Espionage Act is also known as the Industrial Espionage Act