RealTime IT News

DoJ Charges Two With Trade Secrets Theft

A San Jose, Calif., federal grand jury indicted two men late Friday for allegedly stealing computer chip design and development trade secrets.

Lan Lee (a.k.a. Lan Li) of Palo Alto, Calif., and Yuefei Ge of San Jose, are accused of conspiring to steal the proprietary information from their employer at the time, NetLogics Microsystems, and another company, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp.

"The protection of proprietary information is essential to this region's economy," U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan said in a statement from the Department of Justice (DoJ).

"A tremendous amount of resources go into producing the chips and software that are designated as trade secrets."

Lee, an American citizen, and Ge, a Chinese national, were released on $300,000 bonds. They were charged with conspiracy to steal trade secrets and five counts of theft of trade secrets.

If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, a $250,000 fine and possible restitution.

NetLogics Microsystems is a computer chip design and development company located in Mountain View, Calif.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing is a computer chip manufacturing company with facilities in Taiwan, San Jose, Singapore and Washington state.

According to the DoJ, Lee and Ge formed a company, SICO Microsystems, for the purpose of developing and marketing products based on stolen trade secrets from NetLogics and Taiwan Semiconductor.

"Development of proprietary business information, commonly called trade secrets, is an integral part of virtually every aspect of U.S. trade," said Arthur Balizan, FBI acting special agent in charge, in a statement.

"Protecting trade secrets is essential to maintain the health and competitiveness of critical segments of the U.S. economy."

Lee and Ge are next expected in court on Wednesday.