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October 17, 2018

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Factory pilfered high-tech trade secrets

PROSECUTORS have filed charges against three men for allegedly stealing trade secrets from a local high-tech materials company.

Shanghai-based Nanosphere makes expandable microspheres, which can help to increase the stability of thermoplastic materials and reduce manufacturing costs.

In March 2013, Nanosphere signed a three-year contract with a factory in Taizhou City, Jiangsu Province, to make expandable microspheres based on its manufacturing technologies and raw materials, according to the No. 3 Branch of Shanghai People’s Procuratorate.

Under the contract, the factory could not research expandable microspheres, sell it or any similar product.

But prosecutors alleged the factory’s legal representative, surnamed Gu, and deputy general manager, surnamed Wang, conspired with a senior sales manager from Nanosphere, surnamed Chen, to set up an underground workshop.

Chen stole highly sensitive information about how to make expandable microspheres. He also stole a list of Nanosphere’s clients, prosecutors said.

An investigation revealed the underground workshop made 452.95 tons of expandable microspheres which was sold for 11.44 million yuan (US$1.65 million). Gu’s factory made 1,001.25 tons of expandable microspheres which was sold for 41.87 million yuan.

From 2010 to 2018, Shanghai prosecutors have handled 26 cases of trade secret theft, but only nine were brought to court because of the difficulty of gathering evidence, according to the No. 3 Branch of Shanghai People’s Procuratorate.

To better handle these cases, the branch yesterday hired seven experts in fields such as patent, trademark and copyright property.


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