FBI Checklist for Reporting Economic Espionage or Theft of Trade Secrets

The following document was obtained from the website of a Colorado affiliate of the the National Defense Industrial Association.  The date of the document is unknown.


Checklist for Reporting an Economic Espionage or Theft of Trade Secrets Offense

  • 4 pages


If you or your company have become the victim of a theft of trade secrets or economic espionage offense, fill out the information below and contact a federal law enforcement official to report the offense.

Background and Contact Information

1. Victim’s Name
2. Primary Location and Address
3. Nature of Primary Business
4. Law Enforcement Contact

Description of the Trade Secret

5. Generally describe the trade secret (e.g., source code, formula)
6. Provide an estimated value of the trade secret identifying ONE of the methods and indicating ONE of the ranges listed below


_Cost to Develop the Trade Secret;
_Acquisition Cost (identify date and source of acquisition); or
_Fair Market Value if sold

Estimated Value:
_Under $50,000;
_Between $50,000 and $100,000;
_Between $100,000 and $1 million;
_Between $1 million and $5 million; or
_Over $5 million

7. Identify a person knowledgeable about valuation, including that person’s contact information.
8. Identify why the item or information is valued as a trade secret. What makes it unique?
9. Does the trade secret have dual application (i.e. civilian and military use)? If so, identify how?
10. Is the trade secret export controlled? If so, identify the reason or regulation?
11. To what extent is the trade secret, or parts of it, publically available or ascertained?

General Physical Measures Taken to Protect the Trade Secret

12. Describe the general physical security precautions taken by the company, such as fencing the perimeter of the premises, visitor control systems, using alarming or self-locking doors or hiring security personnel.
13. Has the company established physical barriers to prevent unauthorized viewing or access to the trade secret, such as “Authorized Personnel Only” signs at access points? (For computer-stored trade secrets see below.)
14. Does the company require sign in/out procedures for access to and return of trade secret materials?
15. Are employees required to wear identification badges?
16. How many employees have access to the trade secret?
17. Was access to the trade secret limited to a “need to know” basis?
18. Does the company have a written security policy?

(a) How are employees advised of the security policy?
(b) Are employees required to sign a written acknowledgment of the security policy?
(c) Identify the person most knowledgeable about matters relating to the security policy, including title and contact information.

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements

19. Does the company enter into confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements with employees and third-parties concerning the trade secret?
20. Has the company established and distributed written confidentiality policies to all employees?
21. Does the company have a policy for advising company employees regarding the company’s trade secrets?

Computer-Stored Trade Secrets

22. If the trade secret is computer source code or other computer-stored information, how is access regulated (e.g., are employees given unique user names and passwords)?
23. If the company stores the trade secret on a computer network, is the network protected by a firewall?
24. Is remote access permitted into the computer network?
25. Is the trade secret maintained on a separate computer server?
26. Does the company prohibit employees from bringing outside computer programs or storage media to the premises?
27. Does the company maintain electronic access records such as computer logs?

Document Control

28. If the trade secret consisted of documents, were they clearly marked “CONFIDENTIAL” or “PROPRIETARY”?
29. Describe the document control procedures employed by the company such as limiting access, sign in/out policies, and utilizing cover sheets.
30. Was there a written policy concerning document control procedures, and if so, how were employees advised of it?
31. Identify the person most knowledgeable about the document control procedures, including title and contact information.

Employee Controls

32. Are new employees subject to a background investigation?
33. Does the company hold “exit interviews” to remind departing employees of their obligation not to disclose trade secrets?
34. Does the company track personal foreign travel of its employees and provide threat briefings/debriefings?
35. Does the company have a reporting policy for foreign contacts of its employees?

Description of the Theft of Trade Secret

36. Identify the name(s) or location(s) of possible suspects, including name, phone number, email address, physical address, employer, and reason for suspicion.
37. Was the trade secret stolen to benefit a third party, such as a competitor or another business? If so, identify that business and its location.
38. Do you have any information that the theft of trade secrets was committed to benefit a foreign government or instrumentality of a foreign government? If so, identify the foreign government and describe that information.
39. If the suspect is a current or former employee, describe all confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements in effect.
40. Identify any physical locations tied to the theft of trade secret, such as where it may be currently stored or used.
41. If you have conducted an internal investigation into the theft or counterfeiting activities, please describe any evidence acquired.

Civil Enforcement Proceedings

42. Has a dvil enforcement action been filed against the suspects identified above?

(a) If so, identify the following:

Name of court and case number:
Date of filing:
Names of attorneys:
Status of case:

(b) If not, is a dvil action contemplated? What type and when?

43. Please provide any information concerning the suspected crime not described above that you believe might assist law enforcement.

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