Court Unseals Criminal Complaint Against 7 Accused of Stealing Motorola Trade Secrets
Monday, May 02, 2022 | Comments

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois unsealed a criminal complaint against seven individuals accused of stealing trade secrets from Motorola Solutions.

The criminal complaint was originally filed September 30, 2020, but was kept under seal until April 21, when U.S. District Judge John Tharp an order by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) to unseal the case.

In the April 15 motion to unseal, U.S. Attorney John Kocoras said that the document had remained under seal because not all of the defendants had appeared in court. Korcoras noted that the government is still working to get all of the defendants to appear before the court but said it believes “unsealing is warranted at this time.” Korcoras did not specify why the U.S. government believed now was the time to unseal the complaint.

The criminal complaint was filed against Gee Siong Kok, Yih Tzye Kok, Samuel Chia Han Siong, Phaik Ee Ooi, Wong Kiat Hoe, Yu Kok Hoong and Chua Siew Wei. All seven are charged with conspiracy to steal trade secrets.

The criminal complaint is part of a larger indictment that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) unsealed against Hytera Communications in February.

That indictment included 21 counts against Hytera and individuals. One count in that larger indictment charged Hytera with stealing Motorola trade secrets and the rest of the counts charged the defendants will knowingly possessing or attempting to possess different Motorola trade secrets.

The grand jury that delivered that indictment first began meeting in November of 2019, and the indictment was filed in May 2021, after the criminal complaint against the seven individuals was filed.

The criminal complaint was filed by FBI Special Agent Damien Colon and was approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Heather McShain. The document does not specifically name Motorola or Hytera in its narrative but the events line up with events described in a theft of trade secrets lawsuit Motorola filed against Hytera in the same district court in 2017. Three of the seven individuals — G.S. Kok, Chia and Y.T. Kok — from the complaint were also named in Motorola’s lawsuit.

In 2020, a jury for the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois determined that had Hytera stolen Motorola trade secrets and awarded it $764.6 million in damages.

The complaint alleged that the efforts to steal Motorola’s trade secrets extended from June 2007 to November 2019. The document alleges that all seven individuals worked for Motorola Solutions at one point and were then recruited to work at Hytera.

The document alleges that each of the employees “received significant raises and stock options worth several times their final salaries” at Motorola. Before leaving, the employees who were recruited to Hytera accessed thousands of documents, including trade secrets, the complaint said.

In the complaint, Colon referenced emails between the some of the individuals that showed them discussing taking documents from Motorola to bring to Hytera. Colon also noted that during Motorola’s lawsuit against Hytera, source code files and “hundreds of thousands of lines” of source code were found on Hytera computers.

According to the complaint, each of the employees left Motorola around 2007 or 2008 and then began to work with Hytera at that time. The document alleges that some of the seven named individuals did not tell Motorola they were moving to Hytera.

The complaint noted that all seven individuals were required by Motorola to sign confidentiality agreements at the time they were hired and signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) when leaving Motorola.

The discovery phase of the case is now beginning. The parties submitted a motion for a protection order that would cover the discovery period. The order, which was approved by the judge, is intended to protect sensitive information as the case moves forward, Kocoras wrote in his motion for the order.

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