May 23, 2017

America's Trade Secret Theft Epidemic Continues

Just two weeks ago we reported on how China is steadily becoming one of the biggest culprits of American Intellectual property theft, and now the events of the last week have given us an insight into this unsettling reality.

On 19 May 2017, another case emerged where a Chinese national has been found guilty of economic espionage and the theft of trade secrets. The case demonstrates the epidemic that the US have been enduring for some time now.

Xu Jiaqiang, from the Peoples Republic of China pleaded guilty just last week to the theft of trade secrets from his employer, IBM. Xu had worked for IBM, the technology company, as a software developer for a period of 4 years having attended university in Delaware.  It has recently emerged however, that Xu had in fact stolen trade secrets during his employment. According to Fortune, the secrets in question related to a clustered file system that IBM sell to customers around the world. The software is sought after due to its ability to speed up computer performance by allocating work to different servers.

The US Justice Department reported that Xu stole the secrets "to benefit the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People's Republic of China". They also explained how Xu attempted to sell the secret source code to undercover FBI agents. Xu stated he could create additional computer script to mask the origins of the code, those origins being from IBM.

Reuters reported that Xu pleaded guilty to the counts of trade secret theft and espionage before U.S District Judge Kenneth Karas in New York. Xu will have to wait until 13 October 2017 to be sentenced however.

CNN reported that the Chinese steal on average $360 billion dollars worth of intellectual property through hacking alone. In addition to this it is estimated that the amount of economic espionage cases the FBI are investigating have shot up by 53% from 2014 to 2015. Add to this the theft of copyright, design rights and trade marks which has exploded through China's copycat culture and the true scale of the problem is laid bare.

Posted by: in: EU/International, News

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