China Is At It Again
American Superconductor, a U.S. high-technology company, is suing Sinovel, China’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, for software theft. American Superconductor is a supplier of parts and components for wind turbines, and Sinovel once accounted for close to 75 percent of their sales. The civil and criminal actions were filed China.
According to the SEC filing, in June American Superconductor uncovered what it believes to be evidence of illegal software use. They subsequently linked the alleged theft to a former employee of its Austrian subsidiary, AMSC Windtec. This action appears to be related to Sinovel refusing to accept goods they contracted for in April. Damages are estimated at $250 million (USD).
See the full story at Financial Times.
If you have a large client who requires the use of your IP, expect the client to try and find a way around the licensing fees. This is logical and normal and you must be prepared. This story is an indictment of both China’s continued and unrelenting commercial espionage, and the failure of companies in the West to secure meaningful protection. I see no mention of a SARBOX disclosure, as it appears the crown jewels of the company have been pilfered. Makes one wonder what else is not locked up at American Superconductor.