U.S. prosecutors say a Chinese company paid Houston-based employees of an engineering company to steal formulas on a type of foam used in offshore drilling.
Seven people were charged in a complaint unsealed Wednesday.
Shan Shi and Kui Bo were accused of working on behalf of a Chinese company to recruit two employees who then shared information on syntactic foam, which is used in submarines and underwater vehicles. They then allegedly sent that information to their company, which the complaint says is affiliated with three Chinese government-owned companies.
China has long been accused of sanctioning the theft of American trade secrets. A commission studying this issue said this year that China "targets the sectors at the forefront of innovation."
Attorneys for the defendants were not yet listed in court records.