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Intellectual Property Crimes

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 43 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2006 Pages: 663-713
Breana C. Smith; Don Ly; Mary Schmiedel
Date Published
51 pages
This examination of intellectual property law addresses the theft of trade secrets, trademark counterfeiting, copyright infringement, problems raised by online servers, patent violations, and sentencing for intellectual property crimes.
An overview of Federal statutes that deal directly with the theft of commercial trade secret focuses on the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (EEA) and the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, a civil measure similar to the EEA. Also discussed are statutes used by prosecutors prior to the enactment of the aforementioned statutes in order to criminalize the misappropriation of trade secrets. State attempts to combat trade secret theft are also described. The article's section on trademark counterfeiting covers the statutes that Federal and State governments use to protect companies' investments in developing brand names and trademarks. This section focuses on the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984 and the trademark counterfeiting provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) as well as the money laundering statute. The article's section on copyright infringement discusses the Copyright Act and the applications of the National Stolen Property Act, RICO, and the money laundering statutes to criminal copyright infringement. Also discussed in this section are recent attempts to enact legislation that extends copyright protection to computer databases and other collections of information. A separate section explores the application of the Copyright Act to online activities. The section on patents discusses criminal liability for false patent marking, the counterfeiting and forging of letters patent, and the application of the National Stolen Property Act to patent infringement. Another section discusses the application of Federal criminal wiretap laws to cable television and satellite descrambling. The concluding section focuses on sentencing under the various statutes that pertain to intellectual property offenses. 397 footnotes


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