Monday, December 25, 2006, 12/25/2006 02:35:00 PM

Trade Secrets in Our Backyard

From the Winston-Salem Journal, a story concerning five engineers employed with Frisby Aerospace (now known as Triumph Actuation Systems), based in Clemmons, NC, who were indicted in federal court in Mississippi on allegations of stealing trade secrets from Eaton Corp.

The investigation of the company remains open, according to a spokeswoman for the FBI's office in Jackson, Mississippi.

According to the story, the engineers have been the focus of an FBI investigation into whether they stole patented designs from Eaton. That investigation culminated in 2004 when federal agents raided Frisby.

In the words of the Journal:

According to the affidavit of a federal agent, Frisby hired five former Eaton engineers and a former computer specialist at Eaton between 2001 and 2002. Before 2002, Frisby was unable to compete with larger engineering companies, such as Eaton, and was not in the business of designing and manufacturing aviation hydraulic pumps, the affidavit says.

Those employees had worked at a division of Eaton in Mississippi. Eaton, a Fortune 500 company based in Cleveland, Ohio, employs about 56,000 people.

Federal agents raided Frisby after receiving information that employees at Frisby were using computer-assisted design drawings that had been stolen from Eaton, the affidavit says. Computer-assisted design software helps create new products quickly, precisely and economically.

A civil case filed in Hinds County Circuit Court in 2004 names Bergstrom's clients as defendants. That lawsuit, which is pending, contains many of the same allegations included in the affidavit.

Oh, and by the way, Merry Christmas from us here at the Trade Secrets Blog!

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