Chemist convicted of stealing trade secrets from Eastman, other companies

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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A chemist has been convicted of stealing trade secrets from Eastman Chemical Company and other companies.

After a 12 day trial in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, Dr. Xiaorong You, aka Shannon You, 59 of Lansing, Michigan, was convicted of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to steal trade secrets, possession of stolen trade secrets, economic espionage, and wire fraud.

According to federal prosecutors, You stole trade secrets related to formulations for bisphenol-A-free (BPA-free) coatings for the inside of drink cans for the purpose of establishing a can-coating manufacturer in China.

Bisphenol-A, or BPA, was used to coat the inside of cans and other food and beverage containers, but after it was discovered the chemical may be harmful to humans, companies began searching for alternatives. 

Prosecutors say You worked as a packaging application development manager for Eastman in Kingsport from Sept. 2017 to June 2018. She also worked at Coca-Cola in Atlanta where she stole trade secrets belonging to several other companies, according to court records.

Investigators say You stole trade secrets belonging to Akzo-Nobel, BASF, Dow Chemical, PPG, Toyochem, Sherwin Williams, and Eastman that cost $120,000,000 to develop.

You is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 1.

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