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Shanshan Du, a former GM engineer, and her husband, Yu Qin were arrested and charged Thursday with trying to sell stolen GM hybrid secrets to China.  (Source: Detroit News)

GM's Chevy Spark  (Source: TechWack)

Chery QQ  (Source: Gas Goo)
Bizarre story is a sign of growing intellectual property concerns

Man have heard of knockoff Chinese electronics clones of popular American products -- from the iPod to laptop computers.  The largely underreported story is the role intellectual property theft plays in the creation of these products.  Often Chinese engineers directly steal designs which are used to produce cheap clones.

That issue has been brought under the microscope with the arrest of Shanshan Du, 51, and her husband, Yu Qin, 49, for attempting to steal hybrid trade secrets and sell them to China according to the
Detroit News.

The bizarre story begins in 2000 when Du obtained a job working at General Motors.  Soon she became involved with hybrid vehicle efforts, and from 2003 to 2005 she collected thousands of pages of design documents and a wealth of computer files.  When she left GM in 2005, she focused on trying to sell the information on behalf of her Michigan startup Millennium Technology International, MTI, which she and her husband founded in 2000.

Her husband Qin, a U.S. citizen who immigrated from China, also appears deeply involved in the scheme.  He bragged to his friends at his workplace -- Troy, Michigan-based electrical systems and equipment maker Controlled Power Co. -- that he had scored a deal to supply hybrid technology to China's Chery Automobile.

However, the documents never got to Chery, according to the FBI.  The pair's scheme slowly unraveled.  In 2006, pursued by the feds they began destroying documents only to be charged for destruction of evidence.  Those charges were later dropped.  

Breakthroughs in the case came when the FBI seized a flash drive that Qin was keeping at Controlled Power Co., which contained some of the stolen documents.  Further progress was made when the FBI obtained copies of emails sent to Chery and others trying to sell the documents.  The pair were arrested in Michigan Thursday on conspiracy, wire fraud, and other charges.

The FBI made it clear that its taking the case very seriously.  Andrew Arena, head of the FBI in Detroit, "Theft of trade secrets is a threat to national security."

Qin's attorney, Frank Eaman, seemed resigned to the charges, starting "This investigation has been going on so long I figured if they had a basis, they would have charged them a long time ago."

Chery has fought with GM in the past over IP theft issues.  Its QQ minicar, produced in 2002 looked identical and was almost identical mechanical to GM's Chevrolet Spark.  GM's Daewoo unit in South Korea developed the Spark; GM has accused Chery of somehow obtaining its design information and used it to produce the QQ.





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All things considered...
By Targon on 7/23/2010 1:44:50 PM , Rating: 5
Except for the loans the US government gets from China, shouldn't China be considered an enemy at this point? Continued spy action by the Chinese government, hacking, malware, IP theft by the Chinese government and businesses over there, software piracy, the list goes on and on.

Make no mistake, China views the US as an ENEMY at this point, but they see the USA as beneficial, so are not looking to start a conventional war.

The world at large would be better off just letting China put up a big wall around their country and just cutting the Chinese off from the rest of the world. Let them stagnate without contact with the outside world, and in another 50+ years, they will pay top dollar for the improvements the rest of the world comes up with.




RE: All things considered...
By Enoch2001 on 7/23/2010 2:14:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Except for the loans the US government gets from China, shouldn't China be considered an enemy at this point? Continued spy action by the Chinese government, hacking, malware, IP theft by the Chinese government and businesses over there, software piracy, the list goes on and on. Make no mistake, China views the US as an ENEMY at this point, but they see the USA as beneficial, so are not looking to start a conventional war. The world at large would be better off just letting China put up a big wall around their country and just cutting the Chinese off from the rest of the world. Let them stagnate without contact with the outside world, and in another 50+ years, they will pay top dollar for the improvements the rest of the world comes up with.


I disagree. Despite the fact that politically & culturally the US and China will never be in alignment, the two have an interdependence on each other that is too valuable to be considered enemies in the cold war sense. There is so much production done in China for the US that I couldn't imagine the two countries surviving without each other at this point. In fact, our economic reliance on each other is probably the single reason that keeps us in check.

North Korea on the other hand... now them there's some problem children.


RE: All things considered...
By NA1NSXR on 7/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: All things considered...
By kyp275 on 7/25/2010 2:00:32 AM , Rating: 2
to infer that China has no dependence on the US just shows how ignorant you are of how the world functions.


RE: All things considered...
By afkrotch on 7/26/2010 9:56:16 PM , Rating: 1
Dumbest comment ever. Do you know how much China imports to the US? Do you know how much China gets US exports?

3 words. A fuck ton.


RE: All things considered...
By cruisin3style on 7/23/2010 2:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
If future predictions are correct, in 50+ years China will be the economic power of the world surpassing the US or at least being equal to it. Even the CIA has estimated that China (and India) will be the future power centers of the world and surpass even the United States within this century.

So while I don't know enough about China to comment on their innovations (it seems like they just steal other's ideas), in the future I laid out above it doesn't seem likely China will be blocking themselves off from the outside world when they'll have current-US-like levels of power to influence it.


RE: All things considered...
By YashBudini on 7/27/2010 6:03:23 PM , Rating: 2
"Make no mistake, China views the US as an ENEMY at this point, but they see the USA as beneficial, so are not looking to start a conventional war."

The next war will be economic. It probably already started.


QQ....
By darkhawk1980 on 7/23/2010 12:13:57 PM , Rating: 3
Honestly, I think GM should just get over it and stop QQ'ing about the QQ.

Ok, enough humor aside, prosecute them. If you're going to try and steal from a company and sell the intellectual property to another company, you obviously are aware of the risks. Time to do the time for the crime.




RE: QQ....
By Finnkc on 7/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: QQ....
By Dr of crap on 7/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: QQ....
By quiksilvr on 7/23/2010 12:45:16 PM , Rating: 1
I didn't know insulting companies induced orgasms.


RE: QQ....
By Krotchrot on 7/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: QQ....
By threepac3 on 7/23/2010 3:12:41 PM , Rating: 2
*Insert Comeback Here*


RE: QQ....
By Nfarce on 7/23/2010 2:50:20 PM , Rating: 2
Uhm, yeah, they do:

http://www.gm.com/vehicles/hybrids-and-electric/

So does Ford:

http://www.fordvehicles.com/suvs/escapehybrid/

Do you have a problem with just GM or do you have a problem with American car companies?


RE: QQ....
By Hiawa23 on 7/23/2010 12:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
maybe the employees umemployment insurance was about to run out...


RE: QQ....
By Chaser on 7/23/2010 2:27:59 PM , Rating: 3
Not in this reality. It's an endless supply of money now falling off the money tree. Paid by employed workers we have for those that dont for 99 weeks and going!


to China?
By Sanctusx2 on 7/23/2010 3:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
on-topic: Why is the headline and the article trying to slant this into some kind of weird government supported espionage? She didn't sell them "to China." She tried to illegally sell IP to a Chinese company, not the government. Sounds like it was just a way for her to get rich quick using some contacts back in her home country.

off-topic: I'm not one to normally complain about editing, but please review the article a few more times. Just about every paragraph has a grammatical error that makes it confusing to read.




RE: to China?
By JJscon on 7/23/2010 5:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
As of now, Chery is government owned.


RE: to China?
By DigitalFreak on 7/23/2010 7:15:27 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, that's why Chery prices are so high! I thought it was just a bad growing season.


RE: to China?
By Camikazi on 7/24/2010 11:44:45 AM , Rating: 2
They sold to a Chinese government controlled company.


What are they thinking?
By carniver on 7/23/2010 12:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
The Spark looks plain and yet, its knockoff looks plain awful. Good luck trying to sell that in China.




RE: What are they thinking?
By Gungel on 7/23/2010 3:28:00 PM , Rating: 2
It's sold for some time now.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chery_QQ


The only good spy...
By Beenthere on 7/24/2010 10:27:50 AM , Rating: 2
...is in prison or dead.




Man have heard
By Shadowmaster625 on 7/26/2010 8:15:23 AM , Rating: 2
Man have heard that misspelling the very first word of an article is an instant-fail.




what a dumbass analysis
By ckwe on 7/27/2010 1:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
Right, a trade leak, and all of a sudden people want to think that its another SALT script. Give me a break. Trade espionage happens all the time, but just because it is done by a Chinese American, and that it was to a Chinese company, all of a sudden it "oh my god the cold war again!"

So stupid. Its been decades since the civil rights movement and people are still racist against the Asians, thinking everything they do is a betray of USA. Please! If the perpetrators were white, it wouldn't have been such a big deal.




Technology Transfer
By monkeyman1140 on 7/28/2010 2:04:47 PM , Rating: 2
Lucky for us he was just selling them the plans to the Turbo Encabulator.

With so much outsourced to China, does the Communist government really need to spy on us anymore? We send our technology over to China for production, and the contractor then sends the plans to the PLA military for reverse-engineering.

No wonder the Chinese military has modernized so quickly, the USA's endless thirst for cheap goods...




GM, really?
By DigitalFreak on 7/23/2010 7:19:03 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Its QQ minicar, produced in 2002 looked identical and was almost identical mechanical to GM's Chevrolet Spark.


Stupid Chinese. If you're going to rip off an American car company, at least steal from one that makes good cars, like Ford.




“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads













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