Friday, December 23, 2005, 12/23/2005 06:00:00 PM

Yet Another California Criminal Case

From UPI: Just in time for Christmas, a former Netgear engineer was charged with stealing trade secrets from his former company and distributing them to colleagues at his new employer, Broadcom.

Suibin Zhang of San Jose was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on nine counts, including computer fraud and unauthorized copying of trade secrets.

Zhang, a product development manager at Netgear until earlier this year, allegedly downloaded sensitive product information from Marvell Semiconductor, a customer of Netgear after giving his notice that he was leaving.

Why are there so many criminal trade secrets cases in California? Several possible explanations exist:

1. Californians are less honest and more prone to stealing. (This seems unlikely.)

2. California companies, especially in and around Silicon Valley, have businesses that are more likely to have important trade secrets. (Now we might be getting on to something.)

3. California federal prosecutors, perhaps because of issue number 2, are more attuned to trade secrets theft and hence more likely to bring criminal trade secrets cases. (There's our explanation, I think).

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