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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Massachusetts Firm Turns To Chinese Courts Over Stolen Technology

The Director of the National Security Agency is calling China’s industrial espionage campaign “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”

And apparently it’s getting worse.

We’ve heard the concern of American businesses who partner with Chinese firms to build things only to find themselves pushed out of the partnership when the Chinese companies steal the American technology that made the building possible.

In March 2011, Massachusetts-based wind turbine designer American Superconductor Corporation lost its biggest customer, Chinese manufacturing partner Sinovel, and two-thirds of its $315 million revenue when Sinovel started using stolen copies of American Superconductor’s technology to make its own turbines, effectively cutting American Superconductor out entirely.

After announcing the loss, American Superconductor’s stock market value decreased by 40 percent in one day and 84 percent by the following September.

American Superconductor is now suing Sinovel in Chinese court for a total of $1.2 billion in damages for breach of contract, copyright infringement, and theft of trade secrets.

In a press release the company writes:

In total, AMSC is seeking to recover from Sinovel more than $1.2 billion for contracted shipments and damages in these cases, which stem from Sinovel’s contractual breaches and AMSC’s discovery of intellectual property theft by Sinovel employees.

Guest:

  • Michael Riley, reporter for Bloomberg

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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