As we have noted in prior blog posts, alleged thefts of trade secrets are generally handled through the civil court system, and rarely result in criminal prosecution. Nevertheless, where there is an international component to the case or where the magnitude of the alleged theft is particularly significant, the prosecuting authorities will step in, as recently happened in Chicago.
Last week, Chunlai Yang, a former senior software engineer for Chicago-based CME Group, Inc., was indicted in federal court in Chicago and charged with two counts of theft of trade secrets. In the indictment, the government alleges that Yang stole the global exchange operator’s proprietary source code while pursuing, and in furtherance of, business plans to improve a chemical electronic trading exchange in China. Each count against Yang carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The government also seeks forfeiture of computers and equipment allegedly used by Yang as well as any property or proceeds derived from his alleged criminal actions. Yang pled not guilty earlier this week.
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