Ex-scientist charged with stealing trade secrets from Bridgestone

A former scientist with tire maker Bridgestone was charged recently with stealing trade secrets from the company and then lying to the FBI in his involvement in the case. The man, a native of China, is accused of copying proprietary Bridgestone information from company computers onto CDs and sharing the information with a Chinese company.

The intellectual property dispute has led to serious criminal charges being filed against the man: earlier this month, a grand jury returned a 15-count indictment against the scientist. His lawyer says that he is not a criminal and that even if he took the information, it was not with the intent of profiting from it or taking inappropriate action. The attorney went on to say that the scientist is a good man who made some bad choices — but that stealing trade secrets from Bridgestone was not one of those choices.

The man’s attorney says that the CDs the scientist took had various arrays of data on them, which included some of the man’s own data as well as some non-proprietary information. That the discs included some information the government considers to be trade secrets is at the heart of the case. The FBI and Bridgestone say that the CDs contained multimedia presentations and various proprietary formulas spanning eight projects at the company. The scientist, however, says he only downloaded family photographs onto the CDs.

According to the FBI, the scientist — who was fired by Bridgestone — was trying to recruit other scientists to a new venture he planned to start at a university in China. The FBI says the man also gave some proprietary information from Bridgestone to a Chinese company.

Source: The Plain Dealer, “Ex-scientist at Bridgestone in Akron indicted in trade-secrets case,” Alison Grant, Aug. 14, 2012