Man have heard of knockoff Chinese electronics clones of popular American products — from the iPod to laptop computers. The largely underreported story is the role intellectual property theft plays in the creation of these products. Often Chinese engineers directly steal designs which are used to produce cheap clones.
That issue has been brought under the microscope with the arrest of Shanshan Du, 51, and her husband, Yu Qin, 49, for attempting to steal hybrid trade secrets and sell them to China according to the Detroit News.
The bizarre story begins in 2000 when Du obtained a job working at General Motors. Soon she became involved with hybrid vehicle efforts, and from 2003 to 2005 she collected thousands of pages of design documents and a wealth of computer files. When she left GM in 2005, she focused on trying to sell the information on behalf of her Michigan startup Millennium Technology International, MTI, which she and her husband founded in 2000.