Thirteen months ago, we blogged about Hanjuan Jin, a former Motorola software engineer who was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Northern Division of Illinois to four years in prison for stealing Motorola trade secrets related to its proprietary cellular telecommunications technology. Jin was first arrested after she attempted to board a flight at Chicago-O’Hare International Airport on a one-way ticket to China while carrying a variety of electronic storage devices, Motorola documents marked as “confidential and proprietary information,” and more than $31,000 in cash.
Jin was prosecuted on theft of trade secrets and economic espionage charges under the Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. sec. 1831, 1832, and was convicted of theft of trade secrets. She appealed both her conviction and the length of her four-year sentence.
In a September 26, 2013 decision, a three judge panel that included Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner affirmed Ms. Jin’s conviction and sentence, underscoring that, where warranted, federal courts can and will view theft of trade secrets as a serious crime that warrants significant punishment.