Judge Won't Dismiss Charges In Trade Secrets Case

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A federal judge has refused to dismiss charges against two Japanese scientists accused of stealing research material from the Cleveland Clinic.

Hiroaki Serizawa, a researcher at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and his friend and former Cleveland Clinic scientist Takashi Okamoto are accused of stealing biological materials used for research on Alzheimer's disease.

Prosecutors said Serizawa took the material for the benefit of his new employers at a government-funded Japanese research center.

Serizawa's attorneys had asked that the charges be dropped because prosecutors have changed the description of the material allegedly stolen from the clinic.

The government told a grand jury that the biological materials were trade secrets, but said in court later that it was the process by which the materials were produced that was secret.

U.S. District Judge David Judge refused Tuesday to dismiss the charges, but did not publicly release the written explanation for his decision. Dowd has agreed to keep significant portions of the trial material sealed to protect research secrets.

The trial is scheduled to begin May 13. It is the first criminal prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice under a 1996 law intended to prevent the theft of trade secrets by foreign governments.

Serizawa and Okamoto have both pleaded innocent.

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