Michigan couple appeal sentence in GM trade-secret case

DETROIT — A Michigan couple sentenced to prison for stealing General Motors hybrid-car technology trade secrets filed appeals Friday with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

Former GM engineer Shanshan Du and her husband, Yu Qin, were convicted of stealing GM hybrid technology. They planned to use the information for a business venture to build a hybrid electric vehicle in China with Chery Automobile Co., a Chinese auto manufacturer and GM competitor.

Du was convicted in November of conspiracy to possess trade secrets without authorization and two counts of unauthorized possession of trade secrets. She was acquitted of three counts of wire fraud.

U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani sentenced Du to 12 months and one day total on all three counts, served concurrently. She was fined $100 for each count and fined another $12,500.

Qin was found guilty of conspiracy to possess trade secrets without authorization, two counts of unauthorized possession of trade secrets, three counts of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.

He was sentenced to 36 months total on all seven counts, also served concurrently. Qin will pay $100 for each count, plus another fine of $25,000.

Du, who was hired in 2000 as an engineer for GM’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Group in suburban Detroit, copied 16,262 documents covering hybrid vehicles on a thumb drive about five days after being offered a severance agreement in January 2005.

The prosecution argued that half of the GM information Du stole was included in GM licensing agreements with the former DaimlerChrysler and BMW.

In 2004, GM licensed its hybrid vehicle technology to DaimlerChrysler for $55 million. A year later, GM licensed the technology to BMW for $21 million in a similar deal, courts documents indicate.



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