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American chemist stole trade secrets in order to start a company in China

Based on court documents and evidence put forward during the trial, the woman stole the trade secrets, which cost almost $120 million to create, to start a business in China. 

Updated: April 22, 2021 - 5:38pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A 59-year-old chemist has been convicted in connection with stealing trade secrets, according to the Justice Department, which noted that the woman is an American citizen.

"Following a twelve-day trial, Dr. Xiaorong You, aka Shannon You, 59, of Lansing, Michigan, was convicted of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, conspiracy to commit economic espionage, possession of stolen trade secrets, economic espionage, and wire fraud," a press release states.

Based on court documents and evidence put forward during the trial, the woman stole the trade secrets, which cost almost $120 million to create, to start a business in China.

"According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, You stole valuable trade secrets related to formulations for bisphenol-A-free (BPA-free) coatings for the inside of beverage cans. You was granted access to the trade secrets while working at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia, and Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee. The stolen trade secrets belonged to major chemical and coating companies including Akzo-Nobel, BASF, Dow Chemical, PPG, Toyochem, Sherwin Williams, and Eastman Chemical Company, and cost nearly $120,000,000 to develop.

"According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, You stole the trade secrets to set up a new BPA-free coating company in China. You and her Chinese corporate partner, Weihai Jinhong Group, received millions of dollars in Chinese government grants to support the new company (including a Thousand Talents Plan award). Documents related to You's Thousand Talents Program application were admitted at trial; those documents, and other evidence presented at trial, showed the defendant's intent to benefit not only Weihai Jinhong Group, but also the governments of China, the Chinese province of Shandong, and the Chinese city of Weihai, as well as her intent to benefit the Chinese Communist Party," the DOJ noted.

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