US Imprisons Chinese Scientist For Theft Of Engineered Rice Seeds 04/04/2018 by Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A Chinese scientist has been sentenced to jail for more than 10 years for conspiring to steal samples of a highly developed variety of genetically modified rice seeds from a Kansas biopharmaceutical research facility, the US Justice Department said in a release. Weiqiang Zhang, 51, a Chinese national, and US legal permanent resident residing in Manhattan, Kansas, was convicted on 15 February 2017 of one count of conspiracy to steal trade secrets, one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. Zhang did his Master’s degree in agriculture in China and a PhD at Louisiana State University (US). Trial evidence showed that Zhang worked as a rice breeder for Ventria Bioscience in Kansas, and acquired without authorisation hundreds of rice seeds produced by Ventria and stored them at his residence in Manhattan. “The rice seeds have a wide variety of health research applications and were developed to produce either human serum albumin, contained in blood, or lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein found, for example, in human milk,” the release said. “Ventria spent millions of dollars and years of research developing its seeds and cost-effective methods to extract the proteins, which are used to develop lifesaving products for global markets,” according to the release. “Ventria used locked doors with magnetic card readers to restrict access to the temperature-controlled environment where the seeds were stored and processed.” In summer 2013, a group from a Chinese crop institute visited Zhang at his house, and he drove them to facilities in Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio, before they were caught by authorities at the airport for departure with Ventria rice in their luggage. US Justice Department officials hailed the victory as one for intellectual property, innovation, and national security. “Cross-border intellectual property theft not only hurts victim companies, it also threatens our national security,” Assistant Attorney General Demers said in the release. “FBI’s vigilance stopped Ventria’s intellectual property from leaving our country in the nick of time, but it was Ventria’s cooperation that allowed us to hold Zhang accountable for his crimes.” “Ventria invested years of research and tens of millions of dollars to create a new and beneficial product,” said US Attorney McAllister. “It is vital that we protect such intellectual property from theft and exploitation by foreign interests. We all benefit when American companies continue to drive socially valuable advancements in food, medicine and technology.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "US Imprisons Chinese Scientist For Theft Of Engineered Rice Seeds" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.