On August 10, 2018, a jury of six women and six men delivered a verdict in favor of Lumileds LLC, based in San Jose. The jury ruled that a Chinese competitor stole trade secrets related to Lumileds core technology for producing high-power LEDs used in automotive headlights, flashes for smartphones, and general illumination. The case, Lumileds LLC v. Elec-Tech International Co., Ltd. (ETI), Donglei “Tony” Wang, and Gangyi Chen, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara, found the defendants liable for damages in intellectual property theft. The jury awarded Lumileds $66 million.
The jury concluded that ETI, Wang and Chen misappropriated Lumileds trade secrets and took them to China where ETI used the trade secrets to develop LED technology. The ruling concluded that the award of $66 million is the amount of research and development costs that the defendant company saved using Lumileds trade secrets rather than employing its own development.
ETI’s CEO Wang and Former Lumileds Employee Chen Defendants
According to the evidence presented to the jury from an investigation into the theft, ETI’s CEO Wang reportedly authorized a significant payments to be made to Chen four months prior to him leaving Lumileds to work for ETI in China, thereby putting Chen on the payroll of ETI while he was working daily with Lumileds most confidential trade secret technology.
“At Lumileds, we invest heavily in innovation to support our customers,” said Mark Adams, Lumileds chief executive officer. “We will continue to work with the judiciary, law enforcement, and appropriate government agencies, to defend and protect our valuable intellectual property rights.”
“We are pleased that the jurors recognized the clear intellectual property theft by Chen, Wang and ETI, and the extent of the damages caused by this misconduct,” said Cheree McAlpine. “The precedent set by today’s verdict sends a clear message to the industry that intellectual property will be guarded and enforced to safeguard the health of our business.”