Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


On October 11, 1996, President Clinton signed the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (EEA) into law. The Act was designed to protect trade secrets against theft or economic espionage. It applies to trade secrets possessed by businesses operating in the United States, whether foreign or domestic.

This Note analyzes the application of the Act beyond the territory of the United States. This Note first compares the extraterritorial applications of the statutes in two areas of federal criminal law: antitrust and securities law. In these two areas, courts have had substantial opportunities to apply statutory provisions to conduct occurring abroad, and the resulting common law may be instructive in predicting the extraterritorial scope of the EEA. This Note concludes by suggesting what conduct may potentially subject its perpetrators to criminal or civil sanctions under the terms of the EEA.