Monsanto Employee Stole Trade Secret

Monsanto Employee Stole Trade Secret

A man who worked at the Monsanto Company has admitted stealing a trade secret from his former employer and attempting to sell it to the People’s Republic of China.

Xiang Haitao was employed by the American agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation and its subsidiary, The Climate Corporation, as an imaging scientist from 2008 to 2017.

The 44-year-old former resident of Chesterfield, Missouri, exploited his position to steal a proprietary predictive algorithm dubbed the Nutrient Optimizer. 

The algorithm was a key component of a digital online farming software platform developed by Monsanto and The Climate Corporation to increase and improve agricultural productivity for farmers by helping them to collect, store, and visualize agricultural field data.

According to court documents, Xiang transferred the Nutrient Optimizer onto a memory card and copied it onto at least one of his own personal electronic devices. 

The day after Xiang left his employment at Monsanto in June 2017, he tried to fly to China using a one-way airline ticket. Before he boarded the plane, federal officials searched the scientist's luggage. 

Xiang flew to China and found employment at the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Soil Science. Investigators later found copies of the

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