Major Chinese Wind Power Firm Convicted of Stealing Trade Secrets
One of China’s largest wind-turbine makers has been found guilty of stealing trade secrets by a Wisconsin federal court.
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement Thursday (Beijing time) that Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. stole technology that controls the connection between turbines and electrical grids from U.S. company AMSC Corp. in 2011, and that Sinovel was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft and wire fraud.
“Sinovel’s illegal actions caused devastating harm to AMSC,” U.S. Attorney Scott C. Blader said in the statement. AMSC, formerly known as American Superconductor Corp., “suffered financial hardship” after the 2011 theft, according to the statement.
Sinovel has already “made full preparations to adopt active measures to safeguard the interests of the company,” it said in a response to the U.S. ruling. Sinovel said it would “use legal means to strictly defend the company’s legal rights, and protect minority shareholders’ rights and interests.”
The court ruling concludes a lengthy legal battle that involved investigators in Austria, the U.S. and China. Sinovel, along with three individual defendants, was originally charged in June 2013, when it was accused of having convinced one of AMSC’s Austria-based employees to illegally download the American firm’s software source code in 2011. According to prosecutors, Sinovel stole the source code to avoid handing over the $800 million it had previously agreed to pay AMSC for wind turbine technology.
However, Sinovel said in a Jan. 11 stock exchange filing, that AMSC’s products “had not met the requirements” of their prior agreement, and that this was the reason Sinovel had requested a contract termination in October 2011.
Sinovel is expected to receive its punishment on June 4, and could face billions of dollars in fines.
This case “shows that the American authorities are taking the threat of trade secret theft seriously, and in the current political climate this is likely to increase,” Christine Chen, a Taipei-based partner at law firm Winkler Partners, told Caixin.
Though the charges against Sinovel are several years old, the conviction comes at a time of mounting trade tensions between China and the U.S.
In August, the U.S. formally began a probe into Chinese companies’ intellectual property practices. Shortly after, China’s commerce ministry condemned the decision to launch the probe as “an irresponsible act” and “not objective.”
On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump approved steep tariffs on imported solar panels, dealing a blow to Chinese companies that dominate the global solar industry.
This article has been edited to include the quote from Christine Chen.
Contact reporter Teng Jing Xuan (email@example.com)
Jul 19 18:23
Jul 19 18:00
Jul 19 17:50
Jul 19 15:55
Jul 19 15:25
Jul 19 14:50
Jul 19 10:56
Jul 19 10:21
Jul 19 05:00
Jul 19 05:08
Jul 19 05:34
Jul 18 17:12
Jul 18 17:40
- 1Power To The People: Pintec Serves A Booming Consumer Class
- 2Largest hotel group in Europe accepts UnionPay
- 3UnionPay mobile QuickPass debuts in Hong Kong
- 4UnionPay International launches premium catering privilege U Dining Collection
- 5UnionPay International’s U Plan has covered over 1600 stores overseas