October 23, 2018

The Second Circuit Overturns Aleynikov Conviction Under the EEA

 In a stunning reversal, the Second Circuit on February 17, 2012, reversed the conviction of former Goldman Sachs’ programmer, Sergey Aleynikov, for stealing proprietary source code from the bank’s high-frequency trading program in violation of the Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”) and the Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property Act (“ITSP”).  When Aleynikov was convicted on December 10, 2010, the government claimed that it represented a major step in it’s efforts to increase the protection of intellectual property in the United States. Aleynikov has been in prison since February 24, 2011, when the district court revoked his bail and remanded him based on a finding that he posed a risk of flight.  However, only hours after hearing oral argument, the Second Circuit overturned the conviction and ordered the trial court to enter a judgment of acquittal.  The court simply said that an opinion would follow in “due course.”  On February 18, 2012, the court revoked its mandate that the trial court issue an acquittal allowing the U.S. Attorney’s Office to seek a hearing en banc.  I wrote an article on a number of the issues raised by this case that is scheduled to be published soon by Law360.  I will  post a copy of the article after it is published.  I was also quoted by Law360 in an article on this case entitled “Ex-Goldman Coder’s Acquittal Threatens Wall Street’s IP.”  If you are interested in reading a copy of this article, click here.

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