After an almost month-long trial, former General Motors engineer Shanshan Du and her husband, Yu Qin, were convicted Sunday of stealing hybrid vehicle trade secrets from the automaker. Qin was convicted on seven counts, while Du was convicted of three trade-secret counts but acquitted of wire fraud charges.

Prosecutors said Qin used the data in attempts to either get employment with or form partnerships with GM's Chinese competitors, including Chery Automobile Co. GM claimed in the trial that the secrets were worth more than $40 million. Defense lawyers said the data wasn't secret, wasn't stolen and was "useless for other companies."

"These defendants stole trade secrets, which General Motors spent many years and millions of dollars to develop, to give an unfair advantage to a foreign competitor," US Attorney Barbara McQuade said. "We hope that this prosecution will send a message that stealing proprietary information from an employer or competitor is a serious crime."

Du worked for GM from 2000 until her resignation in 2005. Prosecutors argued that Du and her husband had formed Millennium Technology International through which they had hoped to sell the stolen information. Lawyers said 16,262 stolen files were found on Du's computer.

Sentencing is scheduled for February. The couple face maximum sentences of 10 years on each trade secret count and fines of as much $250,000.



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  • 87 Comments
      Wade
      • 2 Years Ago
      Would this technically be treason? The United States Government spent our tax dollars to bail GM out of financial collapse. The United States Government has a vested intrest in the success of GM because of that fact we as the members of society that pay taxes have a vested intrest as well. These two take money away from all of us. These two people are stealing from the future of our country.
        BARRY AND KATHY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Wade
        Of course even that stretch would have to include them being citizens. They may be or may not be.
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Excellent news ! Industrial espionage is a rapidly growing criminal activity, that hurts honest innovates, and erodes national economies. The fact that these two were of Chinese heritage, has nothing to do with their criminality. The are fortunate to have been caught in the US. If they practiced industrial espionage in the PRC, their fate would be far more serious ! It's not racist to refer to the fact that the PRC government and courts have consistently refused to take action against nationals who steal IP from western nations or companies.
      mesager42
      • 2 Years Ago
      Most folks fail to comprehend how many American jobs were saved by bailing out GM and Chysler. It wasn't just the jobs of the actual vehicle companies who were saved - it was all of the workers at companies who manufacture specialized parts for those vehicles that are after market changes. There are all of the auto parts stores that carry spare parts. It is all of dealerships across the nation who hire sales people, mechanics, and body repair specialists. Not to mention the folks who deal credit within the banking industry who had strong relationships with the dealerships through the company's reputations for their vehicles' ability to hold a certain amount of resale value after years of use. If GM and Chrysler had gone under and completely failed to the point that they couldn't have survived a bankruptcy - any warranty on new cars purchased from them would not have been worth squat if there was no company integrity left to make those "free" repairs in recalls. How many cars would have still been on the road for which the warranty would no longer be vaild - if the American vehicle companies had been allowed to fail?
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      China need better IP laws.
      rkeeeballs
      • 2 Years Ago
      What would the courts in China do if the positions were switched ?...Bet it wouldn't be pretty !
      el-dudo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Crime is truely impartial to race. Let's focus on the crime itself and not the race that committed the crime. If the people that did this were of any race, it would be just as bad to GM.
        monkeybrand
        • 2 Years Ago
        @el-dudo
        Yeah, it would be just as bad to GM. But I wonder why the the IP theft usually includes Chinese companies.
          mkenjalo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @monkeybrand
          Therein lies the problem.
        inthelv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @el-dudo
        For whatever reason (an election maybe?) Autoblog has become home to a few racist trolls who's mothers really need to come downstairs and wash their mouths out, or at least take away their internet for a week.
      Robert Fahey
      • 2 Years Ago
      GM has valuable information?
      Awhattup
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow look at this racism! MERICA!!!
        BipDBo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Awhattup
        Racism is pre-judging or otherwise treating someone different, to their advantage or disadvantage, based on that person's race. It is not racism to point out a systemic flaw in a culture or making a judgement against a culture or nation. The United States has established a strong patent system and means for someone to protect intellectual property. By protecting intellectual property, the USPTO is greatly responsible for the innovation that has occurred there. The Chinese people, as represented by their government, do not respect intellectual property, and have shown no desire, much less action to protect it, especially foreign intellectual property. The Chinese economy is growing rapidly, depending greatly on stolen innovation, and at the expense of our economy and our ability to profit from our innovation. This is not a racist observation. It is an honest one.
          Codemonkey83
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BipDBo
          He is referring to the comments like, "Silly Gooks!!!" and "fook u and fook me" not the respectful discourse. The PRC rewards corruption and espionage against western interest by turning a blind eye. Ultimately, this will come back to bite them in the arse.
          Famsert
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BipDBo
          Recognizing that Americans are extremely racist can also be called an honest observation.
          BipDBo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BipDBo
          Granted, there are some truely racists comments here. I see one at the top that says, "Silly Gooks!!!"
          BipDBo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BipDBo
          Codemonkey, Actually, those comments were made after Awhattup's comment. Scrolling downward, I see "dirty foreigners" but not much else. Most people, in my opinion, are voicing legitimate frustrations.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 2 Years Ago
      Chinese car companies are desperate to learn from GM........ what not to do.
      Dave3Axles
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dirty foreigners selling our secrets. Taking our jobs! UNIONS FOREVER!
      scooters2
      • 2 Years Ago
      Trade secrets from GM? How to make a car that breaks apart in 100k miles? How to make a car that resembles a box? How to design a car with no style? What am i missing?
        monkeybrand
        • 2 Years Ago
        @scooters2
        That's still better than the current Chinese crap boxes.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @scooters2
        You should ride in a Chery some time and then see what you think.
      Gorgenapper
      • 2 Years Ago
      re: "dirty foreigners" comments See Jamestown, Virginia. 1607 style.
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