U.S. Economic Espionage Act Withstands Constitutional Challenge in First Conviction by Trial: United States v. Chung

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In 1996, the United States Congress passed the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) to "address a glaring gap in Federal law" by, for the first time, criminalizing the theft of "intangible property, such as trade secrets or intellectual property." Cong. Rec., Senate, 104th Congress, 2d Session (Oct. 2, 1996). Since then, the EEA has been sparingly used, and the first conviction by trial under the EEA did not occur until July of this year. That recent landmark case was significant because it involved a constitutional challenge to the EEA's definition of "trade secret" and a waiver of the defendant's right to trial by jury. The case also illustrated the government's methods in investigating and prosecuting offenses under the EEA.

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