United States v. Hsu
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
40 F. Supp. 2d 623 (1999)
The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted Kai-Lo Hsu (defendant) in federal district court on charges that included conspiring and attempting to steal trade secrets in violation of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (EEA). Hsu was an experienced researcher in the field of anticancer taxol technology. The government’s evidence showed that Hsu (1) sought information about the forthcoming taxol drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb (Bristol-Myers), (2) knew that he could get that information only by bribing a Bristol-Myers employee to turn over confidential Bristol-Myers documents, and (3) believed those documents to contain Bristol-Myers’s trade secrets. An appellate-court interlocutory appeal and the district court’s own in camera review determined that many Bristol-Myers documents actually contained public-domain information, making those documents ineligible for trade-secret protection. Hsu moved to strike the EEA charges on the grounds that the EEA was unconstitutionally vague. At the time, the EEA largely followed the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) in defining a trade secret, in part, as information that (1) is related to or included in products produced for or placed in interstate or foreign commerce, (2) the owner takes reasonable measures to protect from disclosure, and (3) derives economic value from its not being generally known to or readily ascertainable by the public.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Dalzell, J.)
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