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China’s Notorious Thousand Talents Program – Equal Opportunity Recruiter

So, when it was widely reported that a Los Alamos (U.S. Department of Energy) scientist who pled “not guilty” (about 10 days ago) to lying about his alleged recruitment and acceptance into China’s infamous “Thousand Talents Program”, I thought, “Well, nothing unusual there.”

*See the following links for more information about China’s Thousand Talents Program:

Is the Chinese Government-Sanctioned “Thousand Talents Rewards Program” a Vehicle for Trade Secrets Thieves?

FBI-ChineseTalentPrograms-1

CHINA’S THOUSAND-TALENTS-SCIENTIST-RECRUIT IS NOT ETHNIC CHINESE

Except, when I looked at the name of the accused: TURAB LOOKMAN. I thought, “Well, that’s certainly not a typical Chinese sounding name. What’s the story here?”

As it turns out TURAB LOOKMAN is a 67-year-old computations physics expert born in India. (According to the Associated Press/Tulsa World, he moved from India to Britain with his family when he was 13. He then moved to Canada as a young adult after finishing school, and then came to the United States. He began working for Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1999, according to the lab’s website. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2008.”

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY RECRUITER

Now, I thought, “So, China’s Thousand Talents Program doesn’t just encourage ethnic Chinese to bring what they have stolen from the West to China, but other ethnic groups as well?”

According to the indictment, apparently so.

THE INDICTMENT

The accused was allegedly asked variations of the following question on three (3) occasions between 2017 and 2018:

Question:

“Have you ever been recruited by or applied for a job (for personal compensation), either full or part-time, as a consultant/academic/collaborator/adjunct, underwritten by the PRC and/or the Thousand Talents Program, or any company or university within China?”

According to the indictment, “The statement and representation were false because, as the defendant, TURAB LOOKMAN, then and there well knew, he had been recruited by, applied for, and been accepted to participate in China’s Thousand Talents Program for personal compensation.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is not a huge surprise, after all, why would the Chinese government care whom the stolen IP came from.

And, although LOOKMAN, as far as we know, has not been charged with trade secrets theft, it just never occurred to me that China’s “Thousand Talents Rewards Program” could be a vehicle for non-ethnic Chinese to potentially market stolen IP.

Disclaimer: IPPIBlog.com is offered as a service to the professional IP community. While every effort has been made to check information in this blog, we provide no guarantees or warranties, express or implied, with regard to content provided in IPPIBlog.com. We disclaim any and all liability and responsibility for the qualification or accuracy of representations made by the contributors or for any disputes that may arise. It is the responsibility of the readers to independently investigate and verify the credentials of such person and the accuracy and validity of the information provided by them. This blog is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or other professional advice.

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Ron Alvarez is an IP Investigations / Protection writer and licensed private investigator in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has published a number of articles on various investigative topics for PI Magazine. Ron is certified by the Interpol-International IP Crime Investigators College (IIPCIC.) as a "Transnational and Organized Crime Intellectual Property (IP) Investigator."

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