Mitsubishi files countersuit against Bombardier

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Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald Mitsubishi is engaged in a legal battle with Montreal-based Bombardier over its MRJ, currently being tested at the Grant County International Airport.

SEATTLE — Mitsubishi Aircraft, which is testing its regional jet (MRJ) in Moses Lake, has filed a countersuit against Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier in response to a suit Bombardier filed against Mitsubishi in October.

According to a late Monday news release, Mitsubishi alleges “that Bombardier has engaged in illegal anticompetitive behavior with the intent to impede the development and certification of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) aircraft.”

In a 92-page lawsuit filed with the U.S. Federal Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle in October, Montreal-based Bombardier accused the two companies and five named individuals — all former Bombardier employees now working for Mitsubishi or AeroTEC — of “trade secret misappropriation” by sharing proprietary Bombardier documents with Mitsubishi and AeroTEC in violation of U.S. and Washington state law.

In response, Mitsubishi alleges that Bombardier “has engaged in a multifaceted scheme of illegal anticompetitive conduct” against Mitsubishi and partner companies such as AeroTEC, which specializes in helping airplane manufacturers obtain government certification.

In its original lawsuit, Bombardier describes a complex and process for certifying aircraft that is highly dependent on proprietary information and intricate discussions between manufacturers and regulators, and suggested Mitsubishi embarked on the MRJ program without knowing what it would take to get the plane commercially certified.

Mitsubishi, however, asserts Bombardier’s claims “lack factual or legal merit” and are really an effort by the Canadian company to delay or prevent the MRJ “from entering the market.”

According to Mitsubishi, the lawsuit was filed very late on Monday. As of the Columbia Basin Herald’s press time on Wednesday, there were no documents on file in the Federal Court in Seattle pertaining to the lawsuit.

“Mitsubishi Aircraft is confident that it will ultimately prevail in defending itself from Bombardier’s unwarranted lawsuit,” the company said, adding that Bombardier’s legal efforts “will not adversely impact the development and entry into service of the MRJ or the success of the MRJ program.”

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