Economy

Corn to Apple: Cases behind U.S.-China standoff

Corn to Apple: Cases behind U.S.-China standoff

An Apple hardware engineer was charged by the United States with stealing the iPhone maker's driverless auto secrets for a China-based company, the second such case since July amid an unprecedented crackdown by the Trump administration on Chinese corporate espionage. And the feds said that Chen told Apple's global security team that he'd backed up his work computer onto a personal machine and hard drive.

Apple later learned that Chen had already applied for two external jobs, including one at an unidentified China-based autonomous vehicle company that was "a direct competitor of the [Apple] project", according to the affidavit.

The Chinese engineer Jizhong Chen was arrested and charged last week when he was scheduled to fly back to China. All of the information that was about to be stolen is regarding the supposed self-driving vehicle that we have been hearing on and off about over the past couple of years. According to the indictment, Chen told Apple that he was going to visit his sick father. In 2016, Apple scaled back the project to focus nearly exclusively on developing the underlying software and hardware that could eventually power a self-driving vehicle, whether that is one designed by Apple or a partner.

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As a result of the allegations against Chen, he faces upwards of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $250,000. A few days later he was released after posting $500,000 bail.

Earlier this month Patently Apple posted a report wherein National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said that one the key points in the US-Trade talks is about China's ongoing IP theft. "We are working with authorities on this matter and are referring all questions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation", stated Apple.

In July, Xiaolang Zhang was arrested at San Jose International Airport, accused of being in possession of a confidential 25-page document containing schematic drawings for self-driving Apple cars. He was arrested and charged, and has pleaded not guilty of stealing trade secrets.