Federal prosecutors charged three Chinese university professors and three others with economic spying and trade secrets theft to benefit the Peoples Republic of China in a 32-count indictment Tuesday.
The indictment, unsealed today, named Tianjin University professor Hao Zhang and Wei Pang on charges they stole secrets related to radio frequency filter technology primarily used in mobile devices like cell phones, tablets and GPS devices. A third professor, Jinping Chen, was also named.
Zhang, 36, and Pang, 35, met at the University of Southern California during their doctoral studies in electrical engineering, according to the government.
Both men conducted research and development on thin-film bulk acoustic resonator technology (FBAR). Pang worked for Avago Technologies in Colorado while Zhang worked as a FBAR engineer at Skyworks Solutions Inc. in Massachusets.
The indictment alleges that between 2006 and 2007 Pang, Zhang and other co-conspirators prepared plans to solicit PRC universities to start making FBAR technology in China.
Tianjin University, one of the oldest in China, agreed to support their work. The university is a leading PRIC Ministry of Education school in China.
“The conduct alleged in this superseding indictment reveals a methodical and relentless effort by foreign interest to obtain and exploit sensitive and valuable U.S. technology through the use of individuals operating within the United States,” said David Johnson, FBI special agent-in-charge in San Francisco.
Also named in the indictment were Jinping Chen, 41, a Tianjin University professor and member of the board of directors of ROFS Microsystems; Huisui Zhang, 34, a U.S.-trained electrical engineer; Chong Zhou, 26, a Tianjin University graduate student and Zhao Gang, 39, general manager of ROFS Microsystems.
Case: U.S. v. Pang, 15-cr-106