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Intellectual Property Crimes

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 45 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2008 Pages: 665-715
Min Ae Yu; Ryan Lehrer; Whitney Roland
Date Published
51 pages
This article examines several areas of intellectual property law that provide the bases for criminal prosecutions.
Protecting the rights of intellectual property owners is a critical task of the Federal Government in the current environment, in which the distribution of goods produced under violations of copyright and patent laws can be achieved on unprecedented scales. The marked increase in intellectual property theft, combined with the ineffective deterrence provided by civil remedies, has spurred Federal, State, and local governments to enact criminal statutes for the protection of intellectual property. Section II of this article discusses Federal and State laws designed to counter the theft of trade secrets. The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 provides for criminal and civil penalties against the theft of trade secrets, focusing on thefts by both foreign and domestic offenders. The National Stolen Property Act provides criminal sanctions for any person who "transports, transmits, or transfers in interstate or foreign commerce any goods, wares, merchandise, securities, or money valued at $5,000 or more, knowing it to have been stolen, converted, or taken by fraud." Other statutes reviewed are the Trade Secrets Act, mail and wire fraud statutes, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and provisions of State laws. Section III of the article addresses trademark counterfeiting, with attention to provisions of the Trademark Counterfeiting Act, RICO, and money laundering acts. Section IV focuses on statutory provisions that define and counter copyright offenses. The statutes considered are the Copyright Act, the National Stolen Property Act, mail and wire fraud statutes, RICO, the Money Laundering Act, State laws, and database protection. Sections V-VII address criminal violations of the Copyright Felony Act by online servers, patent violations, cable television and satellite descrambling, and sentencing under the various statutes reviewed. 423 notes


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