WSJ: Monsanto sues former programmer

Remember the Chinese seed corn theft? It appears as though such issues may be an ongoing concern for American biotechnology companies.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal

(registration required), Monsanto on Thursday sued a former programmer who worked for Monsanto and Climate Corp., saying he stole proprietary information from the company.

"Monsanto's civil lawsuit, filed

on Thursday

in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, accuses

Jiunn-Ren Chen

of stealing 52 files from Monsanto's computer systems this month using his access credentials, about nine days after he resigned from his job writing code and algorithms," the WSJ reports.

The company found the supposed file theft while monitoring his accounts after he gave his notice, but before his last day of work at Monsanto.

"When Monsanto asked Mr. Chen about the removed files, he attributed it to a 'hacker' but also said he was considering a job offer at a seed company based in Wuhan, China, court papers said.

According to the lawsuit, he

said he had previously been in contact with

Mo Hailong, a Chinese citizen

who earlier this year pleaded guilty to

participating in a long-running plot to steal genetically pure corn seeds developed by Monsanto and DuPont Co.," the WSJ story explained.