United States: Key considerations in parallel criminal and civil trade secrets cases (Video Chat)

In brief

Companies who must confront parallel civil and criminal trade secret proceedings face many vexing strategic issues. Jessica Nall and Christine Streatfeild, two members of Baker McKenzie's North America Trade Secrets Practice, offer their respective white collar and IP expertise to identify and advise on some of the most important topics in this context.


Overcome strategic challenges when managing parallel civil and criminal trade secret proceedings.  These include (i) factors the government considers in initiating an investigation (ii) presenting the "trade secrets" to the government; (iii) whether to seek a stay of the civil proceeding and discovery implications of a stay, (iv) the length of a criminal proceeding; and (iv) the key differences in the way the government conducts its investigation verses discovery between parties in civil matters.

Key summary

  • Trade secrets theft can lead to both criminal and civil liability depending on the facts of the case.  
  • Where the conduct rises to the level of criminal culpability, companies should consider the impact of a referral to criminal authorities as well as making recourse to civil remedies.  If a criminal investigation is initiated, civil and criminal cases will proceed in parallel, presenting a unique set of challenges.
  • If a company finds itself facing such parallel proceedings, there are complex strategic tradeoffs to take into account, including whether to seek preliminary relief, how to proceed in seeking necessary discovery in light of pending criminal proceedings, and how to effectively coordinate and cooperate with prosecutors. 

Access the video chat recording here.

Additional resources

Strategies for parallel criminal, civil trade secret litigation1

Related video chats

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Episode 3 North America: DOJ's China Initiative - Insights on Trade Secrets Criminal Liability (Video Chat)

Episode 4 North America: Does inclusion of 'ideas' and 'know how' in Confidential Information and Invention Assignment Agreements constitute an unenforceable non-compete under California law? (Video Chat)

Episode 5 United States: Snap removal in trade secret cases (Video Chat)

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Episode 8 United States: Avoiding the Entity List - Rise of trade secrets enforcement risk through US export controls (Video Chat)

Episode 9 North America: When to patent and when to maintain as trade secret (Video Chat)

Episode 10 United States: Discovery in trade secrets cases - Part II (Video Chat)

Episode 11 United States: The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Post-Van Buren (Video Chat)

Episode 12 United States: Protecting Trade Secrets in an Era of Pro-Competitive Government Enforcement (Video Chat)

Episode 13 North America: When Trade Secrets Thieves Are Whistleblowers (Video Chat)

Episode 14 North America: Trade Secrets in Tech Transactions (Video Chat)

1 https://www.law360.com/ip/articles/1337028/strategies-for-parallel-criminal-civil-trade-secret-litigation-?nl_pk=e4eb5f01-48b4-446d-b782-6946c7722241&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ip

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