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Sentencing for Chemist who Stole Trade Secrets Continues

The trial of a chemist who stole trade secrets from multiple companies has been continued until May 9 while the judge considers the appropriate sentence. Dr. Xiaorong You, aka Shannon You, was previously convicted of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, conspiracy to commit economic espionage, possession of stolen trade secrets, economic espionage, and wire fraud.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, You stole trade secrets that cost nearly $120 million to develop. You stole secrets related to the formulations of BPA-free coatings for inside of beverage cans. You stole the trade secrets to set up a new BPA-free coating company in China, according to the DOJ.

Bisphenol-A-free or BPA-free has been used to coat the inside of cans to help minimize flavor loss while preventing the container from corroding or reacting with the food or beverage. However, due to BPA’s potential health risks, companies began searching for BPA-free alternatives. The BPA alternative development was a very expensive and time-consuming process, witnesses testified.

You and her Chinese corporate partner, Weihai Jinhong Group, received millions of dollars in Chinese government grants to support the new company, including a Thousand Talents Plan award. The DOJ said that the evidence showed You’s intent to benefit not only Weihai Jinhong Group, but also the governments of China, the Chinese province of Shandong, and the Chinese city of Weihai, as well as her intent to benefit the Chinese Communist Party.

Additionally, The DOJ said You was granted access to the trade secrets while working at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta and Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport. The stolen trade secrets belonged to major chemical and coating companies, including Akzo-Nobel, BASF, Dow Chemical, PPG, Toyochem, Sherwin Williams, and Eastman Chemical Company, according to the DOJ.

You was employed as Principal Engineer for Global Research at Coca-Cola. The company had agreements with numerous other companies to conduct research and development, testing, analysis and review of various BPA-free technologies. You also was one of a limited number of employees with access to BPA-free trade secrets that belonged to Akzo-Nobel, BASF, Dow Chemical, PPG, Toyochem, and Sherwin Williams because of her education and experience with BPA and BPA-free coating technologies. From about September 2017 through June 2018, You was employed as a packaging application development manager for Eastman, where she was one of a limited number of employees with access to trade secrets belonging to Eastman.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, March 5th, 2022 at 11:09 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.