Two Chinese professors are among six Chinese nationals accused by federal prosecutors of economic espionage sponsored by their home government in the alleged theft of sensitive radio frequency filter technology developed by two U.S. companies.
The professors, who attended the University of Southern California, allegedly obtained the trade secret information– designed in part to limit interference in mobile phone reception and other devices– as part of a “long-running effort” to benefit universities and companies controlled by the Chinese government.
Tianjin University professor Hao Zhang, 36, was arrested Saturday in Los Angeles shortly after stepping off a plane from China. Fellow professor Wei Pang, 35, and four other alleged co-conspirators are believed to be in China.
According to the 32-count indictment, Pang and Zhang met during their doctoral studies in electrical engineering at USC. While at the university, the two conducted research related to the acoustic technology that was funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA.
Shortly after earning their doctorates in 2005, Pang was employed as an engineer by Colorado-based Avago Technologies, while Zhang went to work for Skyworks Solutions Inc., in Massachusetts, the two companies that developed the proprietary trade information.
Specifically, the so-called FBAR technology is primarily used in mobile devices, filtering incoming and outgoing wireless signals so that a user only receives and transmits communications intended by the user. In addition to the consumer uses, FBAR technology has numerous applications for military and defense communications.
SOURCE: Kevin Johnson