House passes economic espionage bill

From IPEC …

Last night [1 Aug], the U.S. House of Representatives approved The Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012 (H.R. 6029), a bill that would bolster criminal penalties for economic espionage to protect American innovation and jobs.

This bill incorporates a number of White Paper recommendations that the Administration sent to Congress last year. Those recommendations included 1) increasing the statutory maximum for economic espionage and the theft of trade secrets for the benefit of a foreign entity from 15 years to 20 years; 2) raising the fine that can be imposed from $500,000 to a maximum fine of $5 million and 3) criminal penalty enhancements for passing trade secret information that would benefit a foreign government. These reflect the seriousness of such offenses and the potential damage that they wreak on the economic security of the United States.

I would like to applaud the leadership of House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member John Conyers as well as Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member Mel Watt for their efforts in crafting this bill and ushering it through the House. I would also like to commend the bill’s cosponsors: Rep. Howard Coble, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Rep. Frank Wolf, Rep. Howard Berman, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Ted Deutch, Rep. Ted Poe, and Rep. Steve Chabot.

The Senate has a companion bill (S. 678) with similar language as H.R. 6029. As an Administration, we look forward to continuing to work with Congress to improve enforcement of U.S. intellectual property laws and provide prosecutors and judges more effective tools to deter the theft of trade secrets that benefit foreign governments.

Best wishes,


Victoria Espinel

U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator

Executive Office of the President


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