With a few keystrokes, a terminated or simply unhappy employee of a defense contractor can misappropriate designs, processes, and formulas worth billions of dollars.Some of these criminals exploit pilfered secrets themselves – often by extorting the victim company or starting their own enterprise.
Dating from frontlines guide survival
Fortunately, the women and men of the Justice Department are working tirelessly to prevent, combat, and punish these serious crimes.
Thanks to the efforts of 40 prosecutors and four computer forensic experts serving in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, and more than 230 specially-trained prosecutors stationed at U. Attorneys’ Offices around the country, including 25 Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property – or “CHIP” – units, I’m pleased to report that we’re fighting back more aggressively, and collaboratively, than ever before.
And with approximately 240 FBI agents in the field dedicated to investigating IP crime, along with officials from U. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and 20 additional state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies that are partners at the IPR Center, we are poised to build on our recent successes.
I’m proud of the outstanding work that these professionals are leading every day, in offices all across the country.
For instance, in 2011, companies in Silicon Valley added over 42,000 jobs and recorded a growth rate more than three times that of the U. And it inevitably attracts global rivals – including individuals, companies, and even countries – eager to tilt the playing field to their advantage.
By corrupting insiders, hiring hackers, and engaging in other unscrupulous and illegal activities, these entities can inflict devastating harm on individual creators, start-ups, and major companies.As one private security expert has said of the largest U. corporations, there are only “two categories” of companies affected by trade secret theft – “[T]hose that know they’ve been compromised and those that don’t know yet.” This is because, as new technologies have torn down traditional barriers to international business and global commerce, they’ve also made it easier for criminals to steal trade secrets – and to do so from anywhere in the world.A hacker in China can acquire source code from a software company in Virginia without leaving his or her desk.For instance, in 1999 alone, we saw a 30-percent spike in intellectual property cases over the previous year.In order to fight back, in July of that year I announced the Department’s first major IP Strategy, known as the Intellectual Property Rights Initiative. As critical technologies have advanced, criminals have adapted accordingly.They are responsible for many of the most important technological advances the world has ever seen, an overwhelming number of the 100 most valuable brands, and almost 30 percent of global research and development spending.