The US Government is increasing its use of a powerful tool under US export controls -- the Entity List -- to penalize parties accused of engaging in trade secret theft against US companies.
Intellectual property, trade secrets, and other information and data transfers can be considered exports -- if they involve controlled technology --- therefore, subjecting certain exports of IP and trade secrets to US export controls.
As the US Government increases its trade secrets enforcement efforts including through the ongoing "China Initiative" focusing on criminal prosecutions of trade secrets theft and economic espionage with a nexus to China, the executive branch has also focused on enforcement through more creative actions, as seen in a December 2020 round of designations to the Entity List.
Given this precedent, non-US companies that rely on US products or technology in their supply chain should consider the risk of Entity-List designation should they become subject to a US criminal trade secrets investigation. This is especially true if a company is doing business with Chinese joint venture partners or on-boarding or off-boarding employees with access to key IP in its China operations.
Speakers: Bradford Newman, Alexandre Lamy, Jessica Nall, Christine Streatfeild