Second case of 'secrets-for-profit' alleged at Motorola

July 21, 2008 3:47:54 PM PDT
A former top executive of Schaumburg-based Motorola is being sued by the communications giant, which is accusing him of disclosing trade secrets to aid his current employer Apple Inc.Michael Fenger was a vice president for its mobile-device business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a position he left about 6 months ago. According to a lawsuit filed against him in Cook County Circuit Court, Fenger is now Apple's vice president for global iPhone sales.

The Fenger case comes on the heels of spy allegations against a former Motorola software engineer, 37-year old Hanjuan Jin. Her case was first reported by the I-Team last month.

In the current case, Fenger was "privy to the pricing, margins, customer initiatives, allocation of resources, product development, multiyear-product, business and talent planning, and strategies being used by Motorola," according to the complaint filed in Chicago late Thursday.

Fenger's employment by Apple allegedly violates his written agreement not to work for a competitor for at least two years after leaving Motorola.

Motorola is asking the court to prevent Fenger from working for Apple for two years, retroactive to his March 31st start date. The company also wants to recover more than $1 million for Fenger's alleged violation of its stock-option agreements saying that he was paid "millions of dollars in cash, restricted stock units, and stock options" in exchange for agreeing not to join a competitor for two years. He went to work at the Apple iPhone job less than a month after leaving Motorola, according to Motorola lawyers.

Fenger has not responded to the allegations.

The other case, that of Hanjuan Jin, is a criminal court matter and has yet to go to trial. Jin is a Chinese-born American citizen and graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology. She had been working at Motorola headquarters in Schaumburg since 1998. According to a federal indictment handed up in April, Jin agreed to work for a Chinese tech company that allegedly recruited her to steal Motorola secrets. Federal agents arrested her at O'Hare airport about to board a plane for Beijing and carrying an estimated $600 million in company secrets.

Jin denied that she was a spy in an interview last month with ABC7 Investigative reporter Chuck Goudie.

"They made a mistake," Jin said.

"What were you doing at O'Hare Airport with a one-way ticket to China?" Goudie asked.

"No, I go to visit my mom. My husband and my mom are China," she said.

"Why were you on a one-way ticket?" Goudie asked.

"Because I can buy it cheaper to China," Jin said.

"They say you're a spy," Goudie said.

"They say that, but it's not true. They make mistake. They're paranoid. They wrongly accuse me."

Click here to read the entire Jin report

.

Load Comments