In her book, For All the Tea in China, Sarah Rose recounts one of the most massive trade secret thefts in history. In the nineteenth century, the British East India Company tasked Scottish botanist Robert Fortune with stealing tea from China and bringing it back to India. The act of smuggling tea out of China constitutes intellectual property theft—and also helped make tea a British staple.
Dave, an internationally recognized leader in trade secret law, explored this early example of trade secret theft with guest Sarah Rose. When is theft socially beneficial, and when is it just criminal? Listen to this surprising conversation between Sarah and Dave to understand how theft can alter societies.
“The tea trade was entirely central to the British economy, so you have this incredibly cheap botanical product out of China, by the time it gets to England it’s incredibly valuable . . . this one trade, in a drink, paid for 10% of England’s economy.” – Sarah Rose
“Good artists copy; great artists steal.” ― Pablo Picasso