A secret loses its mystery once it's told. For businesses, the value of a trade secret depends upon how well confidential information is protected. Trade secret leaks put companies and, ultimately, the nation's economy, at great financial risk and gives competitors an unfair advantage.
California now has the distinction of having the first ever jury trial to convict defendants of economic espionage. In fact, fewer than two dozen people in the U.S. have ever been convicted of the crime since the 1996 passage of the Economic Espionage Act. The defendants, a former California businessman and an ex-DuPont engineer, were found guilty in March.