Rights to intellectual property do not stop at national borders, as demonstrated by a recent indictment filed against a Chinese smartphone manufacturer that includes counts of stealing trade secrets from an American company
The U.S. Department of Justice filed the indictment in New York City last Monday, naming the chief financial officer of the company, the company itself and two firms with some sort of affiliation with the company, although details are not available at this time.
The indictment alleges that the Chinese manufacturer robbed an American cellular company of robotic technology used to test smartphones. Apart from the accusation of stealing trade secrets, other charges included in the indictment pertain to alleged bank and wire fraud, conspiracy, flouting U.S. sanctions on Iran, money laundering and obstruction of justice. The acting attorney general of the United States held a press conference to announce the charges, during which he claimed that the alleged criminal activity goes all the way to the top of the company and has been going on for 10 years.
At the request of American officials, Canadian authorities arrested the CFO of the company on Dec. 1st, 2018. While extradition proceedings are still pending, Canadian officials are detaining her in Vancouver. The indictment alleges that she violated American sanctions prohibiting U.S. banks from processing transactions connected to Iran by lying about the Chinese manufacturer’s relationship with an Iranian company.
Though not always involving this level of international intrigue, violations of intellectual property law have the potential to cost rights holders dearly in terms of reputation as well as money. Those concerned that such violations may have taken place could find it beneficial to consult an attorney.