• Jul 22, 2010
It seems that the lure of stealing trade secrets from a former employer has struck again, this time involving General Motors. Ex-GM employee Shanshan Du and her husband Yu Qin have reportedly been indicted by a federal grand jury for their part in an alleged conspiracy to steal hybrid vehicle information from The General.

It seems that Du waited until five days after she received a severance package from the automaker before copying thousands of documents back in January of 2005 related to hybrid technology. In May of the following year, Du and her husband are said to have shredded the documents and dumped them in a bin behind a nearby store after the grand jury began its inquiry.

Between those two dates, it is alleged that Du's husband entered into an agreement with Chinese automaker Chery to provide hybrid technology from his company, Millennium Technology International. According to General Motors, the stolen data is worth about $40 million.

This is not the first time we've seen such cases. Late last year, Former Ford engineer Xiang Dong Yu was arrested and indicted on suspicion of stealing trade secrets from his former employer.

[Source: Detroit Free Press, CNN]


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  • 42 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hey SPRUNKWNI or whatever.............GM has so much technology, even you could not understand it. After all, I'm sure you are employed by NASA or somewhere comparable.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I remember the exact same thing happened to Boeing. Although I think the guy was more successful in sharing proprietary info with China then these 2 were.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's called "learning by copying" in China, and it's actually considered to be a good thing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        zhongmin, you're an idiot if you think this was just them "switching jobs".

        That said, reading the rest of your comment, I'm going to go ahead with the assumption that you're just an idiot.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So, I guess it is illegal to switch job in US now?

        Btw, any piece GM's hybrid tech worth 40 million dollars? What a bloody joke. The only "hybrid" things they may build well are big stupid SUVs with tiny 1 kWh NiMh batteries.

        Also, if Chinese really want to steal hybrid tech from GM, they can just go to the Shanghai GM R&D center which is testing a couple of Hybrid models. However, they will never do that, because the VW R&D center in the same city is simply much better :D
        • 4 Years Ago
        ".......Yes, I'm still laughing."

        you appear to be alone in this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Stealing from GM is stealing from the government, they will feel the full wrath of the law.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Between this and the Motorola vs Huawei case, oh and the Russian spy case, it's just getting better and better. It feels like the 1980s again.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Technically, they did nothing wrong. In 2005, GM didn't have any product or technology that wasn't more than 30 years old, and subsequently, worthless. Its the equivalent of telling Chery that they had invented Post-It's.

        .......Yes, I'm still laughing.

        -Josh
        • 4 Years Ago
        Borrowing a quote from Pablo Picaso, Steve Jobs famously said "Good artists copy, great artists steal."

        Steve probably should have added "great artists steal AND don't get caught by the feds."
        • 4 Years Ago
        No they won't feel the full force of the law. they could just give back some the T notes certs they have sitting in Bejing as payment.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As always its a different set of rules for the chinesse, they steal everything of value then make it and ship it here to be sold cheaper, How Very Honorable, a day will come when they are on the recieveing end, then lets see how they like it.

      GM and Ford should have known better, as someone already said, they should have hired John Smith etc etc etc.
      • 4 Years Ago
      GM's IP must be extensive and valuable. Things like:
      How to burn through other people's money.
      How to p1ss off multiple generations of car buyers by building crap.
      How to get away with advertising cars that won't be available for 2 years.
      How to become a ward of the state.
      How to precisely and exactly design a component, sub-assembly or vehicle to start failing apart 10 seconds after warranty expiration.
      How to make the same mistakes over and over and pretend you are doing something new.
      How to be a total lser car company and still retain hoards of fanboys who think you can do no wrong.
        • 4 Years Ago
        OK... i get it... gm did some bad things... but there doing that quite a lot less now, and their govt backing will be over soon too.... so me and every other gm fan are kindly asking the haters(yes i said haters) to let it go! and admit that gm makes some great products now! including their hybrid power trains. thank you, and have a nice day.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well put CNN, but you know some people just have to get their rocks off with the same old crap. GM has built some of the best vehicles in the world, hire so many AMERICANS it's unreal, but wait, they got a loan that will totally be paid in full, no matter that banks received more than 100 times the amount which will NEVER be paid back.....GM got a loan...SO WHAT ?????? I always have and will support The General.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yoi must keep in mind that GM may have lost some older customers, but they will gain new customers, and yes they will regain a new clientele of customers. Their products are gaining ground everyday just pay attention to the reports and look around. Yes, I am convinced they will. thanks
      • 4 Years Ago
      Scary. Hope there are no such spies in military related industries.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Huh? GM has hybrid technology? Well what do you know...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I forgot to mention take a look around, you can see in on the highways, GM sales are steadily climbing month after month. 1-2 years from now, GM will again be on top as they were for so very long.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's impossible for GM to ever be 'on top' again. There are millions of former GM customers, like me, who will never set foot in a GM showroom again. GM may very well remain in business but you can't reach the top with a sizable chunk of the car buying public permanently out of reach.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ok - if patents are filed, and Chery were to use this information, wouldn't they be opening themselves up to a big can of trouble?

      Or is that the whole problem - patents weren't filed, in order to keep things 'secret?' In which case, Chery could file, and GM would appear to have infringed?
        • 4 Years Ago
        None of those countries honor patent agreements. As I said a couple of days ago, in the 1980's an executive left GM for Volkswagen and took loads of technology with him. GM sued, Volkswagen gave up the loot and the case was settled. Many times corporations hire people knowing they will bring what is known technical expertise(stolen goods). Corporate espionage is BIG business.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ bssplayr

        No, because China doesn't honor western IP.

        Everything is a fair game at all levels; from one man shop turning out fake handbags all the way up to Chinese version of NASA copying Russian spaceships.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Scorch

        Chinese can steal IP from foreigners for use in China and 3rd world countries without worries.

        It is when they try to bring their cars to the US and Europe things get complicated. However, Chinese cars are not coming to the US and Europe.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I always got the impression China just didn't really honor patents...especially from elsewhere.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @CoupeDeBill

        It is one thing to hire an employee with experience and expertise, it is another thing when the same employee takes with him thousands of pages, on which it is written with big letters "CONFIDENTIAL". Interestingly, all those caught in recent years have chinese names, and china has no problem admitting it has several million "spies" in western companies, tasked with infiltrating the company and getting their hands on anything valuable.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I find it mind boggling that Corporations in the USA lobby for more H1B visas so they can get more Chinese engineers when this is pretty much situation normal.

      Work for American company, copy secrets and bring them back to China.

      In the news yesterday was Motorola suing over a dozen Chinese workers for a massive conspiracy to steal their technology.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE66L0J220100722

      I guess saving a few bucks on salaries is so worth it...
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