A Canadian citizen who previously worked in China has pled guilty to theft of trade secrets regarding sodium cyanide, a chemical which is used to mine precious metals. He stole the secrets from his former employer, Chemours, a spinoff of DuPont focusing on performance chemicals. Authorities allege that an unnamed co-conspirator helped steal the trade secrets and that they intended to build a competing sodium cyanide plant in Canada backed by Chinese-based investors.
This arrest and guilty plea reflect the growing concern regarding trade secrets stolen for the advantage of foreign entities. Earlier this year, a U.S. jury convicted a Chinese wind farm company of trade secret theft, which nearly led to the destruction of a U.S.-headquartered company. In the Chemours case, the U.S. Attorney's office stated, “The theft of these trade secrets so that investors from other countries, like China, can gain an unfair advantage is unacceptable. We will use every tool at our disposal to identify and prosecute those responsible for these crimes.”
TIP: This case reflects the government's continual focus on preventing entities in foreign countries from gaining an advantage through theft of trade secrets.