plane with propellers spinning

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over stolen trade secrets

Bombardier, the multinational aerospace and transportation company based out of Montreal, is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft, located in the United States, over “alleged trade secret misappropriation, according to a recent HuffPost report.

Bombardier claims that some of its former employees exposed internal documents containing “trade secrets” before going to work for Mitsubishi.

The Quebec company filed a 92-page legal complaint in a Seattle court last week, also alleging another company, Aerospace Testing Engineering & Certification (AeroTEC), had a hand in the offense. Several ex-Bombardier employees were named in the complaint.

Certification process exposed

Though none of Bombardier’s accusations have been proven in court, they allege that Mitsubishi Aircraft and AeroTEC “recruited no less than 92 of its former employees from both Canada and the United States.”

A spokesperson from Mitsubishi says the complaints are without merit and that they will prove so in court. AeroTEC did not respond to HuffPost in time for comment.

All the former employees identified in the lawsuit “allegedly forwarded documents regarding the certification process to Transport Canada and its American counterpart, the Federal Aviation Administration.”

The document explains:
“The process is incredibly costly, time-consuming, and complex – even for the most experienced of aircraft manufacturers who have gone through that process and developed trade secrets to face it more efficiently.”

Passing the certification process is essential to ensuring new aircraft models are allowed to fly by the regulatory bodies.

Did Mitsubishi break the law?

Bombardier spent “about a decade” and billions of dollars developing their C Series aircraft from concept to object (later rebranded the A220).

The company claims that Mitsubishi “specifically recruited employees who had experience with the certification process and broke the law when it used confidential documents obtained from these employees in order to accelerate the timelines for its own MRJ airline.”

Mitsubishi’s MRJ is expected to arrive in 2020, transporting up to 90 passengers.

Bombardier claims that one of their ex-staff used their own Yahoo email account to send over “very sensitive” and “secret” information on their Global 7000 and 8000 programs plus confidential exchanges between the company and Transport Canada where device certification was discussed.

Other online exchanges occurred between private email accounts, allegedly.

“We don’t take this issue lightly,” said Bombardier to the Canadian Press. “Bombardier intends to take all necessary measures to protect its intellectual property.”

Bombardier is seeking a cease and desist from Mitsubishi and AeroTEC, unspecified financial damages, and for both companies to stop recruiting its staff “to get access to privileged information.”