GE Healthcare, FBI allege Chinese engineer stole MRI trade secrets

Both GE Healthcare ($GE) and the FBI are accusing a Chinese engineer of stealing millions of files of trade secrets from a maker of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines and related diagnostic equipment.

The Journal Sentinel reported that Jun Xie was charged in federal court recently with "criminal theft of trade secrets" and already made a court appearance in the matter. Xie, who is based in Wisconsin and worked for a subsidiary of GE there, has also been suspended. GE Healthcare filed a civil suit against him with similar allegations in July, with allegations including breach of contract and violations of the trade secrets act, the story noted.

A spokeswoman for GE Healthcare Systems told the Journal Sentinel that the company wouldn't discuss ongoing litigation but "considers theft of its intellectual property a very serious matter and will take all steps necessary to pursue those who engage in such acts." She added that GE will cooperate with the government in its criminal investigation.

Before the federal charges, both GE and Xie had been on the verge of an agreement that called for him to cooperate with GE's investigation and return what information he could, the story said.

Xie began working for GE Healthcare in 2008 and wrote code for the company's magnetic resonance technology. According to the federal criminal complaint, Xie is alleged to have gained access to files he wasn't allowed to and copied about 2.4 million of them before sending the data to family members in China. The Journal Sentinel reported that the files in question included everything from source code for magnetic resonance systems to business strategy, testing data and engineering designs.

The Journal Sentinel reported that Xie had agreed to begin talking with FBI agents in June. He acknowledged that he downloaded information that was important to GE Healthcare and that he was going to join a Chinese MRI company that competes with GE, but said that he had not passed on that information to the unnamed new employer. Instead, he planned to use the information himself, according to legal documents on the matter cited in the story.

- read the full Journal Sentinel story

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