US Federal authorities have charged two Lucent Technologies scientists and a third person with stealing Lucent software and sharing it with a company largely run by the Chinese government.
US Attorney Robert Cleary said there are no allegations that the Chinese company, Datang Telecom Technology of Beijing, was aware of the theft.
The scientists worked on Lucent's PathStar system, which enables internet service providers to offer low-cost voice and data services. According to court papers, PathStar has more than 90 per cent of the market for such services and generated $100m for Lucent last year.
Arrested were Lucent employees Hai Lin, 30, and Kai Xu, 33, and Yong-Qing Cheng, 37, who runs an optical networking business. Lin and Xu are Chinese citizens in the US on business visas, while Cheng is a naturalised citizen, according to authorities.
The three defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Lucent had notified authorities in February that company equipment and intellectual property had been stolen. The company, which was once a part of AT&T, makes telecommunications equipment.
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