Former Chinese engineer charged with theft of trade secrets from Ford

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 19, 2010

Under the terms of the guilty plea of a former Ford Motor Co. product engineer who was charged with theft of trade secrets, it’s likely that he will serve more than six years in federal prison.

The terms of a plea entered before Chief US District Judge Gerald Rosen in Detroit indicate that Xiang Dong Yu, also known as Mike Yu of Beijing, faces 63 to 78 months in prison plus a fine of up to $150,000 and deportation after completing his sentence. In late 2009, Yu was arrested upon arriving at the Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

While waiting for his sentence on Feb. 12, Yu will remain in federal custody. According to federal officials, Yu, a product engineer from 1997-2007 at Ford, got a new job with Foxconn PCE Industry Inc. in Shenzhen, China.

This was in 2006. Then while Ford was unaware of his new job, he copied 4,000 company documents onto an external computer hard drive shortly before his departure from Ford.

Included in these records are the system design specifications for an engine/transmission mounting subsystem, electrical distribution system, electric power supply and generic body module. Later, Yu took another job with Beijing Automotive Corp., a rival of Ford, in 2008 until he arrived and was finally arrested in Chicago.

In a statement, US Attorney Barbara McQuade said that the country will “vigilantly protect” the intellectual property of its US automakers, who poured millions of dollars investment and decades of time in research and development to be competitive in a global economy. [via autonews - sub. required]

Topics: ford, china

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