Monday, October 25, 2010, 10/25/2010 09:24:00 AM

DuPont Ex-Employee Sentenced to 14 Months, Faces Deportation After Release

By Todd

BusinessWeek is reporting that former DuPont chemist Hong Meng has been sentenced to 14 months in prison in connection with his guilty plea to violations of the Economic Espionage Act. We've covered this case a number of times, including most recently here:

Meng, whose work involved research on organic light emitting diodes, accepted a position at Peking University in China in 2009 without DuPont's knowledge. He then transferred information about DuPont's work with OLED displays to his Peking e-mail account and his personal computer.

Authorities say Meng also lied to investigators about sending DuPont chemical samples, some considered trade secret compounds, to a colleague at Northwestern University with instructions to forward them to China.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Kravetz told Robinson at the sentencing that Meng's actions were "a very serious intellectual property offense ... and represents an abuse of trust" and that Meng continues to cling to a story that is inconsistent with the facts.

According to prosecutors and court papers, Meng was and is a "brilliant researcher" who made significant advances in the field of paper-thin displays involving nanoelectronics and organic semiconductors, also known as organic light-emitting diodes.

Meng co-edited a book on the technology, which is expected to be the next generation of displays for televisions, computers and other video-based technology.

In summer 2009, Meng, who had been based in Delaware, was set to transfer to a DuPont facility in Shanghai. During the screening for that move, company officials uncovered e-mails and other documents that indicated Meng was preparing to accept a job at Peking University in Beijing, his alma mater, and planned to head a department focused on OLED technology.

While District Judge Sue L. Robinson originally gave Meng until Dec. 1 to report to prison, she reversed her position at a follow-up proceeding Thursday, and Meng was taken into custody immediately. Prosecutors and probation officials expressed concern about Meng's uncertain residency, and federal immigration officials were seeking to take Meng into custody -- if the court did not -- because of the felony conviction.


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