Branch Man Pleads Guilty to Theft of Intellectual Property
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 26, 2013|
LAFAYETTE, LA—United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Glenn J. Soileau, 64, of Branch, Louisiana, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Magistrate Judge C. Michael Hill to illegally accessing a computer that held valuable copyright protected oilfield intellectual property, to include diagrams, product designs, schematics, and oil exploration related materials.
According to the stipulated factual basis at the guilty plea, Soileau admitted that he used a portable USB storage device to access his former employer’s computers at Applied Electronic Systems and Sondex, which are both located in Broussard, Louisiana, and subsidiaries of General Electric Oil and Gas (GE). Soileau downloaded more than 3,700 files containing pictures, diagrams, and other information relating to tools and equipment used in oilfield exploration work. He then brought the information to his new employer at Advanced Electronic Services, and they used the information for work done at Advanced Electronic Services. After being questioned by GE security staff, Soileau admitted to taking the computer files and providing them to his new employer. FBI agents linked Soileau to the computers used in the theft through the USB.
Soileau faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, restitution, and three years of supervised release for the count of unauthorized access to a protected computer. Sentencing was set for September 13, 2013, in Lafayette. The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Namie P. Myers is prosecuting the case.
“Theft of intellectual property information is a growing problem in our country,” Finley stated. “We are primarily seeing it here in the oil and gas industry, but it occurs in many other industries. Intellectual Property theft hurts everyone, not just companies, and our office will continue to investigate and prosecute those who violate these laws. On the eve of World IP Day, this prosecution should serve as a deterrent to those who would seek to profit by stealing the intellectual property of others.”
Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. World IP Day was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to be celebrated every April 26th in order to promote the discussion of IP in encouraging innovation and creativity. The entire U.S. economy relies on some form of IP, because virtually every industry either produces it or uses it. American IP-intensive industries directly accounted for 27.1 million American jobs or 18.8 percent of all employment in the economy in 2010.
Intellectual property theft is an ongoing problem, and the Department of Justice’s Task Force on Intellectual Property, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), and other government and private organizations work to fight IP theft. Citizens can help stop IP theft by not purchasing “knock-offs,” pirated media, or other counterfeit goods. To find out more about IP theft, the public is encouraged to visit www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce, www.iprcenter.gov, and www.ncpc.org/topics/intellectual-property-theft.