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Last updated: February 25. 2013 1:19PM - 1223 Views

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<p>WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced new efforts Wednesday to fight the growing theft of American trade secrets, a broad but relatively restrained response to a rapidly emerging global problem that was brought into sharp focus this week by fresh evidence linking cyberstealing to China’s military. </p>
<p>Mentioning China but not specifically targeting that country, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the plan, which includes a new diplomatic push to discourage intellectual property theft abroad along with better coordination at home to help U.S. companies protect themselves. </p>
<p>The administration says indications are that economic espionage is increasing, not only through electronic intrusion over the Internet but also through the recruitment of former employees of U.S. companies with knowledge of inside trade information. </p>
<p>“Particularly in this time of economic recovery, this work is more important than it ever has been before,” Holder said at the White House announcement of the administration’s strategy. </p>
<p>Earlier this week, a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm, Mandiant, accused a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai of years of cyberattacks against more than 140 companies, a majority of them American. The Chinese government denied being involved in cybertheft.</p>
<p>Wednesday’s Obama administration report did not target any one violator, but the China problem was evident in the case studies it cited. Those examples did not involve cyberattacks but rather the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars in trade secrets by former employees of U.S. corporations including Ford Motor Co., DuPont Co., General Motors Corp., Cargill, Dow Chemical Co., Valspar and Motorola. </p>
<p>The administration report didn’t threaten any specific consequences for theft of trade secrets, and no new fines or other trade actions were announced. It included five actions to protect American innovation: </p>
<p>• Applying diplomatic pressure by senior officials to foreign leaders to discourage theft. </p>
<p>• Promoting best practices to help industries protect against theft. </p>
<p>• Enhancing U.S. law enforcement operations to increase investigations and prosecutions. </p>
<p>• Reviewing U.S. laws to determine if they need to be strengthened to protect against theft. </p>
<p>• Beginning a public awareness campaign. </p>

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