Can I bring charges against someone who stole intellectual property? 5 Answers as of January 31, 2011

A company secretary stole intellectual property from my limited company, ie, machines potentially worth millions worldwide which are now in the public domain . What charges can be brought against this person?

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Devon & Associates
Devon & Associates | Marcia A. Devon
Based on the facts you stated, I believe law enforcement would pursue regular theft/embezzlement/conversion charges against the secretary for taking tangible personal property (the machines) owned by your company. You mention that he/she stole intellectual property, but the only items of property you mentioned are machines which are now in the public domain, so I am unclear on what the intellectual property is. Willful copyright infringement, for example, is a criminal act according a U.S. statute.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/31/2011
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
There are lots of issues here, including possibly both civil and criminal offenses. But the facts are unclear. Were physical machines stolen, was there data on the machines, and if so does that data qualify as trade secrets under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act? You probably need a half hour with an attorney to get a handle on the facts and possible causes of action.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/31/2011
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
The individual maybe liable for misappropriating your company's trade secrets assuming the information was in fact confidential and your company took reasonable steps to maintain its secrecy.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/31/2011
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
There are numerous charges that can be brought against her including many federal charges. Just make sure that if you sue her she has assets or you will just be wasting your time.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 1/31/2011
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC | Deepak Malhotra
Did you file patent applications on the machine? It may not be too late. If there are trade secrets in the design, you may have a potential claim for theft of trade secrets. Or may have a criminal claim for theft or civil claim for conversion. Does she have any assets? If not, the benefit of a civil case may not exceed the cost. Your best potential outcome versus cost may be with a criminal complaint, if there are no assets. You need to talk to an attorney about strategies, your goals, costs, and possible outcomes.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/31/2011
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