Monday, February 8, 2016

Stealing White - How a corporate spy swiped plans for DuPont’s billion-dollar color formula

At first, you’re like: Why are they stealing the color white?

I had to Google it to figure out what titanium dioxide even was,” says Dean Chappell, acting section chief of counterespionage for the FBI. “Then you realize there is a strategy to it.”

You can’t even call it spying, adds John Carlin, the assistant attorney general in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice’s national security division. “This is theft. And this—stealing the color white—is a very good example of the problem. It’s not a national security secret. It’s about stealing something you can make a buck off of. It’s part of a strategy to profit off what American ingenuity creates.”

Most trade-secret theft goes unreported. Companies worry that disclosing such incidents will hurt their stock prices, harm relationships with customers, or prompt federal agents to put them under a microscope. Theft of trade secrets also rarely results in criminal charges because the cases are time-consuming and complicated, and it’s often difficult to win a conviction for conspiracy to commit espionage. more

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