Man Accused of Stealing Corning Secrets

Man Accused of Stealing Corning Secrets

A former employee of a Corning Inc. glassmaking plant is charged with stealing trade secrets and selling them to a Taiwanese company.

The FBI arrested Jonathan Sanders, 37, on Wednesday and charged him with selling information about the process Corning uses to make liquid crystal display, or LCD, glass for flat-panel TVs, computers, cell phones and digital personal assistants.

"We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in this, which is why it is so important to us," Corning Inc. spokesman Jim Terry told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Sanders pleaded not guilty Thursday before a federal magistrate.

Also Thursday, the Taiwanese company, PicVue Electronics Ltd., and Corning announced a settlement of a Corning lawsuit stemming from the alleged sales. PicVue agreed not to use the information and to compensate Corning for any past wrongdoing, Terry said.

Sanders is described as a former employee of the Harrodsburg plant. Terry said he did know how long Sanders had worked there.

The FBI, in a criminal complaint, said Sanders confirmed Tuesday that he sold PicVue blueprints about "fusion draw," a glassmaking process Corning had developed.

The bureau said Sanders told an agent he found the blueprints in 1999 in Corning's Harrodsburg warehouse, in a hopper containing confidential material to be destroyed.

Prior to September 2000, court records allege, Yeong C. Lin -- a PicVue consultant -- told PicVue that Sanders was offering drawings he had obtained from Corning. PicVue authorized a wire transfer of $30,000, but it was unclear whether Sanders received it.

Sanders met with PicVue President Jacob Lin and Yeong C. Lin several times over the next nine months, according to court records. Jacob Lin is no longer the company's president.

FBI Special Agent Steven L. Halter in Buffalo, N.Y., said the four-year investigation is continuing, but would not say whether others may be arrested.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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