7 July 2014Americas

Chinese national arrested for conspiring to steal seed trade secrets

An ex-employee for a large Chinese seed production company has been arrested in the US for conspiring to steal trade secrets from US agricultural companies including Monsanto.

Mo Yun, once an employee for the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Company (DBN), and her brother Mo Hailong, are alleged to have conspired to steal several US seed manufacturing companies’ trade secrets over a number of years.

According to Bloomberg, Mo Yun and Mo Hailong were accused of stealing seeds belonging to agricultural companies Monsanto, DuPont’s Pioneer unit, and AgReliant Genetics’ LG Seeds division.

A statement by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa said that DBN is “believed to be a Chinese conglomerate with a corn seed subsidiary company, Kings Nower Seed”.

Mo Yun worked for DBN from August 2001 to March 2009. She is married to DBN’s founder and chairman.

According to the statement, Mo Yun and other individuals were conspiring to steal trade secrets from the US companies from about January 2007 to December 2012. They were also alleged to have conspired to steal inbred corn seed from production fields in Iowa and Illinois.

“This ‘inbred’ or ‘parent’ line of seed constitutes valuable intellectual property of a seed producer,” the statement said. The seed they collected were then to be covertly transferred to China.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched a probe after DuPont Pioneer security detected “suspicious activity”.

“The FBI’s investigation into Mo Yun should not go unnoticed by those who seek to steal trade secrets and private business information,” said Thomas Metz, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Omaha division.

“Identifying and deterring those focused on stealing trade secrets, propriety and confidential information or national security information is the number two priority for the FBI second only to terrorism.”

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More on this story

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26 January 2021   A US federal court has upheld a preliminary injunction against a Chinese doctor accused of stealing trade secrets from US heart device manufacturer AtriCure.
Biotechnology
11 March 2021   China must safeguard IP in the seed industry to ensure innovation within the sector, the group chairman of Chinese multinational Sinochem, Frank Ning, has warned.

More on this story

Americas
26 January 2021   A US federal court has upheld a preliminary injunction against a Chinese doctor accused of stealing trade secrets from US heart device manufacturer AtriCure.
Biotechnology
11 March 2021   China must safeguard IP in the seed industry to ensure innovation within the sector, the group chairman of Chinese multinational Sinochem, Frank Ning, has warned.