Shortly after he began working for a rival company, Gary Min uploaded some 180 DuPont documents to his new corporate laptop.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

November 8, 2007

2 Min Read

On Tuesday, a former DuPont scientist who admitted stealing company secrets was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison, fined $30,000, and ordered to pay almost $14,500 in restitution to DuPont.

Gary Min, 44, was sentenced in Wilmington, Del., for stealing DuPont trade secrets, an act he admitted to in November 2006. The maximum sentence for his offense is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Prior to sentencing, Min reportedly asked for leniency because incarceration would be a hardship on his family and because his actions did not result in significant financial loss to DuPont. The estimated value of the documents exceeded $400 million, according to the government.

Nonetheless, Stacey J. Mobley, senior VP and general counsel at DuPont, in a statement on Tuesday expressed support for the sentence.

"As a science company, DuPont takes aggressive measures to protect its unique and confidential technologies," she said. "Although we are troubled that Mr. Min violated the trust placed in him, the criminal and civil actions brought against him demonstrate the actions that we will take to preserve the integrity of our proprietary science and technology for the benefit of DuPont shareholders and customers. Judge Robinson underscored the importance of those actions by sentencing Mr. Min to federal prison and sent a clear signal to others who might consider committing similar crimes."

According to government prosecutors and affirmed by Min as part of his guilt plea, Min started work for DuPont as a research chemist in 1995.

In July 2005, Min began discussions with Victrex PLC, a polymer manufacturing company, about a job in Asia. Victrex makes a polymer compound called PEEK that competes with two DuPont products, Vespel and Kapton.

In October, Min accepted a job with Victrex that was scheduled to begin in January 2006. Min did not tell DuPont of his plans until December. Between August 2005 and December 2005, Min downloaded approximately 22,000 abstracts and 16,000 full-text .pdf documents from DuPont's Electronic Data Library (EDL), most of which were unrelated to his professional responsibilities at DuPont.

It was the unusually high volume of EDL downloads that prompted DuPont to contact the FBI and begin an investigation. A DuPont spokesperson declined to explain whether scrutinizing network activity by departing employees is standard practice or whether some specific incident triggered a review of Min's online actions.

Shortly after he began working for Victrex, Min uploaded some 180 DuPont documents to his new corporate laptop. Informed of Min's actions at DuPont, Victrex subsequently seized Min's laptop and turned it over to the FBI.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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