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Chinese engineer sued for stealing trade secrets from San Jose tech firm Lumileds

He will have to pay $66 million in damages to his former employer.

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An LED ribbon strip from Lumileds.
Lumileds

Chinese engineer Chen Gangyi will need to cough up about $66 million in damages.

That's after a Silicon Valley jury found that he had stolen trade secrets from Lumileds, an LED light making company, before he left to join Chinese firm Elec-Tech International. He had apparently smuggled out thousands of files containing trade secrets, reports San Jose daily paper Mercury News.

The $66 million award was based on what Elec-Tech International would have spent on development had it not used Lumiled's technology.

Chen's current employer, Elec-Tech International, will appeal the verdict, claiming through its lawyers that it had independently developed its own LED processes and had not taken or used Lumiled's tech. Chen had worked at Lumileds for seven years, before moving back to China where he has since been promoted to the role of vice president.

Lumiled's suit also claimed that Chen was part of a larger campaign to poach employees and steal technology.

"At Lumileds, we invest heavily in innovation to support our customers," said Mark Adams, Lumileds chief executive officer. "We will continue to work with the judiciary, law enforcement, and appropriate government agencies, to defend and protect our valuable intellectual property rights."