On June 11, 2019, a Lexington man was indicted in the District of Massachusetts on twelve counts of theft, possession, copying, uploading, and downloading of trade secrets from his employer.
According to the indictment, Haoyang Yu was born in Harbin, China but has since become a naturalized U.S. citizen and currently lives in Lexington, Massachusetts. Five years ago, Yu began working at Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI), a semiconductor company that manufactures various integrated circuits used in electronic equipment. As a designer and developer, Yu worked on microwave frequency circuits often used in radio, cellular, and satellite communications. Given his position, he had significant access product designs, schematics, models, testing procedures, and more. Yu would resign three years later. And when he did, he signed an agreement with ADI affirming that he surrendered all propriety information.
Months before he resigned from ADI, however, Yu founded his own company, Tricon MMIC, LLC (Tricon). Offering the same products as ADI, and which have an identical design, Tricon allegedly began targeting ADI customers directly. Tricon identified “obsolete” ADI products and offered Tricon replacements. According to the indictment, Yu, while working at ADI, allegedly downloaded hundreds of highly confidential schematic design files among others and uploaded them to his Google drive account for the benefit of Tricon.
TIP: Despite the fact that stealing a company’s trade secrets is a crime, theft is still a significant risk that companies face. Therefore, besides taking proactive steps to minimize the chance of theft, companies should consider referring suspected theft to law enforcement.