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$41 million award for theft of fibre optics trade secrets

A jury has awarded the sum of $41.2 million to fibre optic maker Super Vision International in its case against a former employee and a family of Chinese entrepreneurs who were found liable for fraud, civil theft, civil conspiracy, misappropriations of Super Vision's technology, destruction of evidence and violations of Florida’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act.

An FBI agent testified that he monitored a phone call in which he overheard Super Vision’s then director of R&D stating that he was paid $1.4 million by "the Wu family" for information that later became a US patent filed on the family’s behalf. Information faxed by the director contained drawings of Super Vision's machinery and descriptions of its fibre optic cable manufacturing process.

The verdict came after years of investigation and litigation including reports from private investigators retained by Super Vision confirming that equipment stolen from Super Vision's laboratory as well as customer lists, vendor lists, chemical formulations and blueprints and diagrams of Super Vision's plastic fibre optic cabling manufacturing process were illegally obtained for the purposes of duplication and sale of Super Vision's product line.

Super Vision’s founder and CEO Brett Kingstone warned shareholders that the award will be hard to collect. He said:

"Although the defendants have vast resources, which they used to pay huge sums to individuals to steal information from our firm, they have since transferred all their financial assets outside the United States and the fact that they are not responding to any questions will make this judgment potentially very difficult and costly to collect."

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