Federal Indictment Charges PRC-Based Telecommunications Company with Conspiring with Former Motorola Solutions Employees to Steal Technology

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A federal indictment was unsealed today in the Northern District of Illinois, charging a telecommunications company with conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets. The indictment alleges that a telecommunications company conspired with former employees of Chicago-based Motorola Solutions Inc. to steal digital mobile radio (DMR) technology developed by Motorola.

According to court documents, Motorola Solutions developed the DMR technology through years of research and design. Motorola Solutions marketed and sold the radios, which are sometimes referred to as “walkie-talkies,” in the United States and elsewhere. The indictment alleges that PRC-based Hytera Communications Corp. LTD recruited and hired Motorola Solutions employees and directed them to take proprietary and trade secret information from Motorola without authorization. The charges allege that, while still employed at Motorola, some of the employees allegedly accessed the trade secret information from Motorola’s internal database and sent multiple emails describing their intentions to use the technology at Hytera.

As alleged, from 2007 to 2020, Hytera and the recruited employees used Motorola’s proprietary and trade secret information to accelerate the development of Hytera’s DMR products, train Hytera employees, and market and sell Hytera’s DMR products throughout the world, the indictment states. According to the indictment, Hytera paid the recruited employees higher salaries and benefits than what they received at Motorola.

The 21-count indictment was partially unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago by court order. It charges Hytera with conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets. Hytera and others are also charged with individual counts of possession or attempted possession of stolen trade secrets. The names of other defendants who have not appeared in U.S. District Court are redacted.

If convicted, Hytera faces a potential criminal fine of three times the value of the stolen trade secret to the company, including expenses for research, design, and other costs that it avoided. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, First U.S. Attorney John C. Kocoras for the Northern District of Illinois and Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office made the announcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melody Wells, Steven Dollear and Vikas Didwania for the Northern District of Illinois are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance provided by Trial Attorney Nic Hunter of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Controls Section.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.