Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America heads back to federal court

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America has been taken back to federal court by Bombardier which alleges that trade secrets related to its C-Series certification and Global 7000 systems were stolen by former employees.

The Montreal-based manufacturer has stated that the Mitsubishi Regional Jet programme benefited from those secrets.

“Bombardier submitted an amended complaint which clarifies the relationship between the defendants and provides additional information on the harm that Bombardier suffered as a result of [Mitsubishi Aircraft’s] unlawful actions,” says Bombardier.

“Bombardier will continue to enforce its rights and ensure that all wrongdoers are held accountable,” it added further.

The refiled suit says the loss of employees to the MRJ programme delayed certification of both the Global 7000, which Bombardier has since renamed the 7500, and the C-Series, which became the A220 after Bombardier sold majority programme ownership to Airbus in 2018.

“As a result of the actions of defendants… Bombardier’s certification efforts for these aircraft were delayed by several months,” alleges the suit.

Around 92 former Bombardier staff are working on the MRJ programme, Bombardier claims in the suit.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America has stated: “That Bombardier’s allegations are without merit. Mitsubishi Aircraft is confident that it will ultimately prevail in defending itself from Bombardier’s unwarranted allegations, and that Bombardier’s actions will not adversely impact the development and entry into service of the MRJ or the success of the MRJ programme.”

The case dates back to October 2018 when Bombardier sued MACA, its Japan parent Mitsubishi Aircraft, a Seattle-based flight-testing company AeroTEC and several former Bombardier employees.

Bombardier claims former employees stole trade secrets when leaving the company to take jobs working on the MRJ, in the process violating federal and Washington State trade secret laws. In April, the case was tossed out of court but the judge left in place counts against Mitsubishi Aircraft and gave Bombardier 15 days to refile, which Bombardier did in late April.

The refiled suit argues MACA knew about the trade secrets and that Mitsubishi Aircraft used its corporate structure to hide affiliate MACA from liability. The companies are essentially one and the same, Bombardier claims.

The former Bombardier employees allegedly stole C-Series certification reports related to airspeed indicating and static pressure systems, air temperature indicators and flight-testing data, Bombardier says.

Bombardier also alleges employees stole Global 7000 and 8000 secrets related to skew detection systems.

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