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Intellectual Property Crimes

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 41 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2004 Pages: 809-863
Onimi Erekosima; Brian Koosed
Date Published
55 pages
In examining intellectual-property laws that provide the bases for criminal prosecutions, this article addresses the theft of trade secrets, trademark counterfeiting, copyright, patent, art crimes, and sentencing.
In discussing the theft of trade secrets, the first section of the article addresses the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (EEG), which targets "economic espionage" (intellectual theft that benefits a foreign government) and theft of trade secrets, which pertains to a theft that benefits any person but the true owner of the intellectual property. This section also discusses the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, a civil measure similar to the EEG, and statutes that were previously used by prosecutors to penalize the misappropriation of trade secrets, but with limited success, i.e., the National Stolen Property Act, the Trade Secrets Acts, the mail and wire fraud statutes, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). State attempts to combat trade secret theft are discussed in this section as well. A section on trademark counterfeiting focuses on the defenses and penalties of the Trademark Counterfeiting Act, along with RICO and money laundering acts. The section on statutes that define and sanction copyright and copyright violations considers the Copyright Act, the National Stolen Property Act, mail and wire fraud statutes, RICO, the Money Laundering Act, and database protection. Criminal violations of the Copyright Felony Act are discussed as they apply to online servers. Patent violations are then discussed with reference to false marking, counterfeiting or forging patent letters, and the National Stolen Property Act. A section on art crimes considers relevant Federal statutes and State approaches. The article concludes with a discussion of sentencing under the various statutes previously discussed. 418 footnotes


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