Homework Writing Help on Trade Secret Theft

Trade Secret Theft

Recent events have drawn the attention of companies to what has become known as trade secrets theft, as is the case of Maddox Corporation, whose trade secrets were sent to Smith Corporation; its competitor. The trend has become common place as the world moves towards an information driven society, where information is powerful, as it is traded and brokered (Rothke, 2001). Numerous perpetrators have been known to steal trade secrets among them, nation states, insiders, competitors, organized crime groups and hackavists. In the case of Maddox Corporation, what would be an investigator’s procedure in conducting the investigation?

There are a number of suspects responsible for threat of trade secrets. According to the National Counter intelligence Executive Office (2011), nation states, malicious insiders, competitors, organized crime groups and hackavists are among the perpetrators of trade secret theft.  For Maddox Corporation, Smith Corporation is the most likely suspect of the trade secret theft. Being a competitor, Smith Corporation has vested interests in Maddox’s secrets to achieve competitive advantage. Additionally by gaining access to Maddox’s trade secrets, Smith Corporation can hugely save on its R&D, especially if Maddox has better designs and products, and therefore be able to launch the products or services ahead of Maddox Corporation (National Counterintelligence Executive Office, 2011).

As a competitor, Smith is at a position to recruit or bribe Maddox’s employees, particularly those who feel disgruntled by Maddox, and therefore use them to gain access to the trade secrets. Moreover, with a promise of a job with better job, better salary and a better position, Smith Corporation can easily convince a Maddox’s employee to steal and send them Maddox’s trade secrets (PWC, 2014). Moreover, Smith can also use extortion as a means of forcing the employees to steal the trade secrets. With a threat of losing their jobs, most employees would easily budge and do as required the by the individual threatening them (Sakkas, 1991).

In conducting investigations into the crime, the first step the preparation for the investigation, which involves the identification of the purpose of the investigation. Having identified the purpose (finding the source of the trade secret), the investigator identifies the tools required for conducting the investigation. The tools herein include software and hardware necessary to track any steps taken by the competitor, or insider working with the competitor. The investigator for the corporation may be either a staff of the corporation or a hired forensics expert specifically for conducting the investigation.

In conducting the investigation, the investigator must first qualify the source of the allegations. This is to endure credibility and reliability of the source through the verification and corroboration of the source. Moreover, the investigator must determine the response to the crime in question as well as the circumstances. The investigator then begins by the documentation of the incident scene. Here, the investigator identifies, documents and collects items with evidentiary value.  The evidence for the crime can be easily acquired from the computer systems used by the employee, as well as from company personnel such as the individual alleged to have committed the crime. While acquiring the items however, it is important to ensure that only company property is collected.

The cost of trade secret theft is immeasurable given the fact that most trade secrets are a culmination of years of research and development. While other players such as foreign states, hackavists and organized crime groups may be involved in trade secret theft, competitors and malicious insiders are the most common perpetrators of the crime. In the event of a crime, and the corporation conducts an investigation, it is important to be meticulous, lest the corporation hurts is reputation as well as expose itself to liability claims.


Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (2011).Foreign Spies Stealing US Economic Secrets in Cyberspace: Report to Congress on Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage, 2009-2011. Washington, DC: National Counterintelligence Executive

Price Waterhouse Coopers (2014). Economic Impact of Trade Secret Theft: A framework for companies to safeguard trade secrets and mitigate potential threats. Delaware: PWC.

Rothke, B. (2001). Corporate Espionage and What Can Be Done to Prevent It. Information Systems Security, 10(5), 1-7.

Sakkas, P. E. (1991). Espionage and Sabotage in the Computer World. International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 5(2), 155-202.