In 1997, the FBI videotaped the chairman of a Taiwanese company, Four Pillars Enterprise Co., in an Ohio hotel accepting secret documents about Avery Dennison Corp.’s formulas for its adhesive products. Agents watched as he cut the company’s confidential markings off the papers and then discussed what an Avery scientist should steal next, according to court records.

Four years later, FBI agents at San Francisco International Airport surrounded two Chinese engineers bound for China carrying satchels allegedly packed with trade secrets from four Silicon Valley firms detailing the manufacture of microprocessors.

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