Trade secret theft charges against a Chinese national were dropped this week in Federal Court in the Southern District of Iowa. A team of lawyers headed by Terry Bird, Gary Lincenberg and Peter Shakow with Los Angeles-based litigation firm Bird Marella secured the rare and complete dismissal of the charges against Mo Yun.

Mo, along with six others, was charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets (corn germplasm) belonging to DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto. From the outset of its defense of Mo, Bird Marella urged the court to closely scrutinize the nature and admissibility of the Government’s evidence against her. Ultimately, the court found that evidence to be entirely inadmissible, granted a defense motion to exclude, and soon after dismissed the case at the Government’s request. 

The lawyers claimed Mo was innocent of the charges that she conspired to steal trade secret corn germplasm, and indeed had left the company alleged to be at the center of the conspiracy in late 2008 to be a full-time, stay-at-home mother.  Now that the case against her has ended, she is looking forward to returning home, Bird Marella said.

Bird commented, “We are grateful that the case against Ms. Mo has been dismissed. It marks the end of the unfortunate prosecution of an innocent woman. After being separated from her family for more than a year pending trial, she is eager to return home.”

Lincenberg added, “This has been an arduous process for Ms. Mo, but she is relieved by the outcome, thankful to the court for its courtesy and even-handedness throughout, and looking forward with great excitement to going home to her son and daughter in Beijing.”

Background

The statute under which Ms. Yun was charged, 18 U.S.C. 1832, is a criminal statute that has been utilized more often by Government prosecutors in recent years. It carries steep penalties, including up to ten years in federal prison.  For more information about this and related statutes, read Lincenberg and Shakow’s, “A Secret No More:  The Rise of Economic Espionage Prosecutions and How to Litigate Them,” published by Criminal Justice magazine.

United States v. Li, et al., Case No. 4:13-cr-00147-SMR (S.D. Iowa). Read full dismissal.