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AeroTEC denies MRJ staffers stole trade secrets from Bombardier

MRJ flight test company AeroTEC has fired back at Bombardier in US federal court, denying accusations it acquired and took advantage of confidential documents related to certification of the CSeries, now known as the Airbus A220.

The Seattle-based company has asked a federal judge to throw out a request by Bombardier that would prohibit several AeroTEC staffers from working on MRJ certification. AeroTEC is assisting Mitsubishi Aircraft with MRJ testing and certification.

"There is no threat of irreparable harm to Bombardier and it has little chance of prevailing" with its lawsuit, AeroTEC says in a 27 December filing with the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Bombardier "attempts to portray the handful of documents as centrally critical to the certification of the MRJ by miscasting innocent events in a sinister light", AeroTEC adds. "The documents have not been and will not be used by the AeroTEC defendants."

AeroTEC's filing responds to Bombardier's 19 October lawsuit against Mitsubishi Aircraft, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America, AeroTEC and several of those companies' employees who had previously worked at Bombardier.

Bombardier alleged that, prior to leaving Bombardier for jobs at AeroTEC and Mitsubishi Aircraft, the former staffers stole confidential CSeries flight test and certification documents by emailing them to personal addresses.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Aircraft was working on the MRJ certification.

The stolen documents allegedly included CSeries certification reports related to airspeed, static pressure and air temperature systems – documents "invaluable to anyone involved in an effort to certify aircraft for entry into service", Bombardier's suit said.

Bombardier requested the companies be ordered to pay unspecified damages and disgorge wrongful profits.

But AeroTEC insists the staffers emailed the CSeries documents to themselves for the purpose of working at home for the benefit of Bombardier during their last few days with that company.

"They never intended to take or misuse any confidential information, and merely had the unfortunate timing to be working on things from home in their last months and days at Bombardier," says AeroTEC.

Bombardier's lawsuit had also alleged that AeroTEC's director of test and evaluation Michel Korwin-Szymanowski, who formerly headed the CSeries flight test team, poached the workers from Bombardier and knew of the stolen documents.

Korwin-Szymanowski also denies wrongdoing.

"I have never seen or been given access to any of the documents Bombardier has identified as trade secrets," he says in a separate 27 December filing. "Bombardier’s suggestion that AeroTEC or I solicited any employee with the intent they would disclose or use their former employer’s confidential or proprietary information is absurd."

Attorneys for AerTEC and Korwin-Szymanowski did not immediately respond to requests for more information from FlightGlobal.

The latest filings came one week after Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America likewise asked the judge to throw out the case.

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