A Chinese citizen that completed a portion of a doctoral program at an unnamed Californa university was convicted of stealing American trade secrets on Friday. The DOJ charged the man with conspiring to steal trade secrets from multiple American companies and hand them over “for the benefit of the Chinese government.”
According to a press release by the DOJ, 41-year-old Chinese citizen Hao Zhang was convicted of economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and conspiracy on Friday.
The release claims that Zhang stole trade secrets that pertained to the performance of wireless devices that are designed to eliminate electronic interference. Zhang allegedly planned to use the technology, which has both consumer and military applications, to start a Chinese company.
In a statement, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said that Zhang conspired with Tianjin University to take trade secrets from American companies. Demers claims that Zhang sought to use the stolen trade secrets to gain a competitive advantage with a company located in China.
The defendant plotted with Tianjin University to take trade secrets from two U.S. companies, including his own employer, to China for the benefit of the Chinese Government. Today’s guilty verdict on all counts is an important step in holding accountable an individual who robbed his U.S. employer of trade secrets and sought to replicate the company’s technology and replace its market share. The Department of Justice’s commitment to prosecuting these cases should serve as a cautionary tale to anyone considering doing the same.
U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson for the Northern District of California said that officials need to be proactive in the fight to protect American intellectual property.
“A free nation is naturally innovative. No nation is more innovative than the United States. Countries without freedom cannot match our innovation, and inevitably must resort to theft. Theft is not innovation. By combatting theft, we protect innovation and freedom,” Anderson said.
Breitbart News reported in January that four researchers at the University of Florida were forced to resign after a federal investigation revealed that they sent taxpayer-funded research to the Chinese government.
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