A federal jury in Wisconsin on Wednesday convicted a Chinese wind turbine company of stealing trade secrets, which nearly destroyed a U.S. manufacturer.
China’s Sinovel Wind Group does business in the United States.
“The theft of ideas and ingenuity is not a business dispute. It’s a crime and will be prosecuted as such,” U.S. Attorney Scott Blader said.
According to the government’s case against Sinovel, the company had an $800 million contract for products and services from Wisconsin-based American Superconductor (AMSC).
It said Sinovel conspired in 2011 with two company managers and a former AMSC employee to use computers in Austria to steal wind turbine technology and trade secrets from AMSC and install them on Sinovel turbines.
Sinovel never paid AMSC the $800 million.
Federal prosecutors said Sinovel’s crime cost AMSC dearly; investors dumped more than $1 billion in AMSC stock and about 700 workers lost their jobs, more than half of the company’s global workforce.
Sinovel will be sentenced in June.