Physics Professor Pleads Not Guilty To Charges of Stealing Technology to Benefit China

2013_03_23__5015Theft of intellectual property is not only an issue involving civil law, but criminal law as well, depending on the circumstances.

Xiaoxing Xi, the former chairman of Philadelphia’s Temple University physics department, has plead not guilty to federal criminal charges he illegally shared sensitive U.S. technology with Chinese businesses, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Xi, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is free on $100,000 bail, after being arraigned on four counts of wire fraud. If found guilty on all charges he could face eighty years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Regarded by those in his field as a leader in superconductor research, Xi allegedly planned to exploit technology he bought from a U.S. company he formerly worked for, for the benefit of Chinese entities, including its government.

Prosecutors claim Xi worked at a U.S. business that developed a device that revolutionized his field in 2002. The next year he bought the device with the help of a grant from the Department of Defense to continue his testing.

Xi signed an agreement with the company not named in the complaint not to reproduce, sell, transfer, or attempt to reverse-engineer it which federal authorities claim he repeatedly violated with the help of Chinese postdoctoral students. They cite four 2010 e-mails to contacts in China in which Xi is accused of offering to create a “world-class thin film laboratory” in the country. Xi was trying to exchange valuable intellectual property of his former employer for prestigious positions in China, reports the <a href=”http://www.bizjourn