I gave two speeches on computer crime, theft of trade secrets and economic espionage this week. First, I lectured to 36 judges from Thailand, including a number of justices from the Thai Supreme Court at a program at Boalt Law School in Berkeley, California. Boalt has recently begun a program of hosting foreign judges for two weeks to learn about U.S. law, in general, and electronic commerce in particular. While the subject of my four hour lecture on cyber crime was very different from other lecture topics, the judges appeared very interested, and after overcoming an initial reluctance, asked a number of interesting and thought provoking questions. Hopefully, they will take away an understanding of the importance of cyber security to electronic commerce.
Next, I spoke at the spring meeting of the American Intellectual Property Law Association in Seattle, Washington, on the Administration’s Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets. The strategy, which was launched in February of this year contains five action items including (1) increased focus on diplomatic efforts to protect trade secrets; (2) encouraging domestic voluntary best practices by private industry to protect trade secrets; (3) enhancing domestic law enforcement operations; (4) improving domestic legislation; and (5) raising public awareness and stakeholder outreach. With regard to item 4, the intellectual property enforcement coordinator published a request in the Federal Register on March 19, 2013, for comments/recommendations that would enhance enforcement against, or reduce the risk of, the misappropriation of trade secrets for the benefit of foreign competitors or foreign governments. Submissions were due by April 22, 2013. A copy of my comments is available here.
My speech emphasized that while the action items certainly represent a step in the right direction, ultimately, the success will depend on whether the government actually follows through with action. Moreover, even if the government does implement the programs and increase protection of trade secrets, the government can only do so much, especially in this era of government cutbacks. And, ultimately, businesses must do more to protect their valuable intellectual property. Please click here for a copy of my presentation.