Trade Secrets to U.S. Subsidiary of Chinese Company
On May 7, 2012, Yuan Li, a former research chemist with the global pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, was sentenced in the District of New Jersey to 18 months imprisonment, 2 years of supervised release, $100 special assessment and restitution in the amount of $131,000. Previously, on Jan. 17, 2012, Li pleaded guilty to stealing Sanofi’s trade secrets and making them available for sale through Abby Pharmatech, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese chemicals company. According to court documents, Li worked at Sanofi headquarters in Bridgewater, N.J., from Aug. 2006 through Jun. 2011, where she assisted in the development of several compounds (trade secrets) that Sanofi viewed as potential building blocks for future drugs. While employed at Sanofi, Li was a 50 percent partner in Abby, which sells and distributes pharmaceuticals. Li admitted that between Oct. 2008 and Jun. 2011, she accessed internal Sanofi databases and downloaded information on Sanofi compounds and transferred this information to her personal home computer. She also admitted that she made the stolen compounds available for sale on Abby’s website. This investigation was conducted by the FBI.