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U.S. Federal Trade Commission.U.S. Federal Trade Commission. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ.)

Trade secrets make up the most important assets of many U.S. companies, small and large. The importance of trade secrets cannot be understated, as they comprise 70 percent of the value of U.S. public companies’ information portfolios, totaling over $5 trillion (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Case for Enhanced Protection of Trade Secrets in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement), and making them an inviting target for theft from both domestic and international competitors. In fact, it has been estimated that the annual value of trade secret losses in the United States is $300 billion, which has led to an estimated loss of 2.1 million American jobs per year (S. Rep. No. 114-220, 2016). Trade secret theft is conducted from both within and from outside of a target, with 50-80% of all global intellectual property theft being traceable to China (The IP Commission, The Report of the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property).

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