Motorola attempted to crush competitor via “Chinese spy ring” allegations

Four years ago a software engineer that worked for Motorola was arrested by U.S. Customs agents as she was trying to board a plane heading for China. Hanjuan Jin was carrying with her over 1,000 electronic documents belonging to her now former employer, as well as some documents regarding military communication technology and a sizable batch of money.

Her trial is finally scheduled for this week. She stands accused of stealing those files in order to deliver them to the Chinese military and a Beijing-based company, and she has plead not guilty to all charges.

News of the imminent trial has brought to light other accusations – accusations made by Illionis-based 4G cellular technology manufacturer Lemko Corporation who recently filed a suit against Motorola, alleging that Motorola and its lawyers “abused the legal process and tortiously interfered with Lemko’s business opportunities in an effort to destroy the company and the reputations of its executives.”

To understand the connection between the two suits, one must know that Lemko’s CTO Shaowei Pan used to work for Motorola as the Director of Architecture & Engineering, and that many of Lemko’s engineers of Chinese descent used to be Motorola employees, as well.

Motorola has previously filed a suit claiming that Hanjuan Jin had been employed at Lemko’s while on an extended medical leave from Motorola, and that she used Motorola’s VPN software installed on Lemko’s computers to remotely access Motorola’s corporate computers and the trade secrets, confidential information and proprietary source code stored on them.

Lemko says that Motorola’s claims that Lemko, its CTO and its employees of Chinese descent are a part of a spy ring tied to the Chinese government and Chinese companies and their continuous serving of subpoenas on Lemko’s customers, suppliers, competitors and investors has made Lemko lose over $1 billion in business opportunities.

The Lemko suit claims that Jin was “traveling to China to visit her family and was carrying with her what she believed were materials needed for her off-site work as a Motorola employee,” and that “Motorola falsely claimed that Lemko and Jin conspired to smuggle Motorola’s trade secrets and other proprietary documents to China.”

Lemko accuses Motorola of casting the company in an “adverse light, disparaging their business and professional reputations and encouraging others to call them Chinese spies.” On account of this, the company allegedly lost a $200 million contract with the U.S. government. Also, it claims that Lemko’s business partner and supplier Huawei was effectively blackmailed into dropping them in order to be able to bid on Motorola assets it wanted to buy.

“The misuse of the legal process was done here with the intent to do harm to the plaintiffs without excuse or justification and for the purpose of achieving the collateral objectives of destroying Lemko’s business, of coercing the transfer of Lemko’s patents to Motorola, of obtaining Lemko’s valuable technology and of harming the reputation and economic interests of Lemko, Mr. Labun and Dr. Pan so they could not effectively ever compete with Motorola or even create and sell their own technology,” concludes Lemko in the suit.

Motorola, predictably, denied all allegations and said it will fight the suit, NetworkWorld reports.

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