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CHICAGO — A federal indictment unsealed today charges a Chinese telecommunications company for allegedly conspiring with former employees of Chicago-based Motorola Solutions Inc. to steal digital mobile radio technology developed by Motorola.

According to the indictment, Motorola Solutions developed the DMR technology through years of research and design. Motorola Solutions marketed and sold the radios, which are sometimes referred to as “walkie-talkies,” in the United States and elsewhere.

The indictment alleges that China-based Hytera Communications Corp., Ltd., recruited and hired Motorola Solutions employees and directed them to take proprietary and trade secret information from Motorola without authorization.

The charges allege that, from 2007 to 2020, Hytera and the recruited employees, while still employed at Motorola, allegedly accessed the trade secret information from Motorola’s internal database and sent multiple emails describing their intentions to use the technology at Hytera. They did so in order to accelerate the development of Hytera’s DMR products, train Hytera employees, and market and sell Hytera’s DMR products throughout the world, the indictment states.

Hytera allegedly paid the recruited employees higher salaries and benefits than what they received at Motorola.

The 21-count indictment was partially unsealed today by court order in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It charges Hytera with conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets. Hytera and others are also charged with individual counts of possession or attempted possession of stolen trade secrets. The names of other defendants who have not appeared in U.S. District Court are redacted.

Hytera’s arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled. If convicted, the company faces a potential criminal fine of three times the value of the stolen trade secret to the company, including expenses for research, design, and other costs that it allegedly avoided.

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