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Possession of Trade Secrets

What is Possessing Stolen Trade Secrets? What Are the Punishments If you are Convicted of Possession of Stolen Trade Secrets?

Possession of Trade Secrets is a federal crime that is charged under the U.S. Economic Espionage Act of 1996. If you are convicted you can face up to 10 years in prison, three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Any organization engaging in theft of trade secrets can be fined up to $5,000,000 or three times the value of the trade secrets, whichever is greater. These are hefty fines and punishments by themselves, without taking into account the fact that many white collar criminal indictments roll in additional serious charges like wire fraud.

Massachusetts Cracks Down on Possession of Trade Secrets

So who is found guilty of possessing stolen trade secrets? How do the courts prosecute these crimes? The Massachusetts District Court answered this question in the first case of its kind, which led to the conviction of a microchip engineer for stealing the design of a microchip developed by Analog Devices.

Assistant attorneys to U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins were directly involved in prosecuting the case. U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins has pledged to crack down on white collar crimes and this conviction represents part of an effort to be tough on white collar crime.

Defense attorneys for Haoyang Yu, 43, a former employee of ADI who developed and began selling an ADI prototyped microchip before the company released their version, claimed that Yu was targeted for his race. The trial has taken place in a climate where a slew of Chinese academics and researchers have been targeted for white collar crimes under Trump’s “China Initiative.” Although the prosecution attempted to prove 19 counts that included wire fraud, immigration fraud and the illegal export of controlled technology, the Jury only convicted on one count of possession of trade secrets and acquitted Yu on all18 remaining counts.

Robust Defense for White Collar Crimes like Possession of Trade Secrets

A good defense for possession of trade secrets is that knowledge frequently leads to inventions that happen independently of each other with no intention to commit a crime. It also must be proved that reasonable efforts were made by individuals or organizations to protect trade secrets.

“Economic espionage” conjures fears of foreign government spying by Russia and China, and prosecutors may exploit these fears to bring multiple serious charges. It is a daunting battle to be accused of any serious crime, but it’s important to remember that a Jury will be reluctant to convict based on excessive accusations that can’t proved beyond reasonable doubt,

If you are accused of a serious crime like possession of trade secrets, you don’t have to sit back and let prosecutors make an example of you. At Dhar Law, we believe adamantly in the right to a fair trial and have decades worth of experience defending countless cases in state and federal courts.

Facing charges of possession of trade secrets, wire fraud, or the illegal export of technology and feeling concerned about your future? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced and battle-tested criminal law attorneys as soon as possible at (617) 880-6155. We will get to work on your case straight away and build a robust defense, no matter what charges you are facing.


Have you or a family member been charged or arrested? It’s important not to make mistakes early on in your case. Download our PDF on the top 3 things to do to help your defense or if you have been arrested by the State Police or FBI or you are the subject of an FBI Arrest Warrant.

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Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

I have the power and the skill to be able to save people from themselves. I can be your guide during the darkness. I can hold your hand and navigate you out of the darkness into the light.

— Vikas Dhar
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