China Stole This U.S. Company’s IP The Old-Fashioned Way

By on April 12, 2018

April 12, 2018

The Chinese wind turbine company Sinovel managed to come up with some software that had been developed by a U.S.-based company with which Sinovel had been working for years. Sinovel made the turbines, and the U.S. company provided critical software that controlled the flow of electricity from the generator into the grid. It looks like a classic case of technology ripoff of the sort currently part of the U.S. political conversation and, purportedly, in the process of being addressed by the Trump administration. In January, Sinovel was convicted of  conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, theft of trade secrets, and wire fraud (some details are laid out in this DOJ press release) in a case that is said have cost the U.S. company $800 million and precipitated the layoff of half its work force. But, as this post from Orrick explains, this theft occurred by way of an older and less politically charged scenario: It was an inside job, one that could have been thwarted “or at least mitigated,” according to the writers, “by the same protections used to combat any other trade secret misappropriation.”

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