Motorola Trade Secrets to China
On Aug. 29, 2012, Hanjuan Jin, a former software engineer for Motorola, was sentenced in the Northern District of Illinois to four years in prison for stealing trade secrets from Motorola, specifically Motorola’s proprietary iDEN telecommunications technology, for herself and for Sun Kaisens, a company that developed products for the Chinese military. According to court documents filed in the case, Motorola spent more than $400 million researching and developing iDEN technology in just a matter of years. On Feb. 8, 2012, Jin was found guilty of three counts of stealing trade secrets. Jin, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in China, possessed more than 1,000 electronic and paper Motorola proprietary documents when she was stopped by U.S. authorities at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport as she attempted to travel to China on Feb. 28, 2007. The judge presiding over the case found her not guilty of three counts of economic espionage for the benefit of the government of China and its military. According to the evidence at trial, Jin began working for Motorola in 1998, and took medical leave in Feb. 2006. Between Jun. and Nov. 2006, while still on sick leave, Jin pursued employment in China with Sun Kaisens, a Chinese telecommunications firm that developed products for the Chinese military. Between Nov. 2006 and Feb. 2007, Jin returned to China and did work for Sun Kaisens on projects for the Chinese military. On Feb. 15, 2007, Jin returned to the United States from China and reserved a flight to China scheduled to depart on Feb. 28, 2007. Jin advised Motorola that she was ready to return to work at Motorola, without informing Motorola that she planned to return to China to work for Sun Kaisens. On Feb. 26, 2007, she returned to Motorola, and accessed hundreds of technical documents belonging to Motorola on its secure internal computer network. As she attempted to depart from Chicago to China, authorities seized numerous materials, some of which provided a description of communication feature that Motorola incorporates into its telecommunications products. Authorities also recovered classified Chinese documents describing telecommunication projects for the Chinese military. Jin was charged with theft of trade secrets in an Apr. 1, 2008 indictment. A superseding indictment returned on Dec. 9, 2008 charged her with economic espionage. The investigation was conducted by the FBI, with assistance from U.S Customs and Border Protection.