PRC Firm Allegedly Stole Motorola's Secrets

The United States has charged a telecommunications company based in the People’s Republic of China with conspiring to steal trade secrets from Chicago-based Motorola Solutions Inc

A federal indictment, partially unsealed in the Northern District of Illinois on Monday, alleges that Hytera Communications Corp. LTD recruited and hired Motorola Solutions employees then directed them to take Motorola’s proprietary and trade secret information without authorization. 

Hytera allegedly sought to obtain secrets related to Motorola’s digital mobile radio (DMR) technology. 

According to court documents, Motorola Solutions began working on the DMR technology in 2004, and it took the company years to develop the hardware and software solutions to design, manufacture, make and sell DMR radios.  Sometimes referred to as ‘walkie-talkies,’ the products were purchased by taxi companies, police units, hotels and airports. 

The charges allege that, while still employed at Motorola, some employees accessed trade secrets stored in Motorola’s internal database and sent multiple emails in which they shared their intentions to use the technology at Hytera.

Hytera is accused of enticing the Motorola employees away from their Chicago employer by offering them higher salaries and more benefits than they received at Motorola.

“As alleged, from 2007 to 2020, Hytera and the recruited employees used Motorola’s proprietary and trade secret information to accelerate the development of Hytera’s DMR products, train Hytera employees, and market and sell Hytera’s DMR products throughout the world,” said the Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs. 

The 21-count indictment charges Hytera with conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets. The Chinese company and others whose names are redacted in the indictment are also charged with individual counts of possession or attempted possession of stolen trade secrets.

If convicted, Hytera could be slapped with a fine that is three times higher than the value of the stolen trade secret to the company that stole it. Calculations to determine that value would include expenses such as research and design avoided by swiping the technology.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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