January 3, 2012 - A Chinese-born scientist who worked as a researcher at Dow AgroSciences LLC from 2003 to 2008 has been sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing trade secrets and sharing them with scientists in China and Germany.
Kexue Huang performed agricultural research related to organic insecticides at a Dow research facility in Indianapolis. After Huang was terminated by Dow, he went to work for another agricultural services company, Cargill Inc., and began looking for ways to misappropriate trade secrets about a new food product from his new employer.
Huang was hired by Hunan Normal University, a Chinese school, during his employment at Dow and without Dow's knowledge or permission. He secured grant money from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, which he used to perform more research based on his work for Dow and produce a research paper that included some of Dow's trade secrets. According to prosecutors, Huang also asked Hunan Normal University to perform research based on the misappropriated trade secrets.
In all, Huang stole at least twelve trade secrets and caused an aggregated loss of between $7 million and $20 million. He was charged under the U.S. Economic Espionage Act of 1996.
"The theft of American trade secrets for the benefit of China and other nations poses a continuing threat to our economic and national security," commented Lisa Monaco, head of the Justice Department's national security division, in a statement.
The case was heard in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and is USA v. Huang.