Industries in the U.S. spend more on research and development than any other country in the world. The amount of effort and resources put into developing a unique product or process that can provide an edge in the business world is not unsubstantial. But what happens if someone comes in and steals that edge—a company’s trade secrets—for the benefit of a foreign country? The damages could severely undermine the victim company and include lost revenue, lost employment, damaged reputation, lost investment for research and development, interruption in production—it could even result in the company going out of business.
It’s called economic espionage, and it costs the American economy billions of dollars annually and puts national security at risk. While it is not a new threat, it is a growing one, and theft attempts by foreign competitors and adversaries are becoming more brazen and more varied in their approach.