Bombardier sued Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States on October 19, 2018, accusing the Japanese company of  illegally acquiring some secret documents by hiring former employees of the Canadian plane maker.

The complaint, filed at Seattle West District court, United States, says Aerospace Testing Engineering & Certification (AeroTEC) was also involved in the fraud. This second Japanese company assists Mitsubishi Aircraft in developing its regional aircraft, the MRJ. Once in operation, the plane would be a direct competitor to the CRJ series of the Canadian manufacturer. AeroTEC is also one of the many suppliers of Bombardier, including wings for its business jets.

According to Radio Canada, Bombardier says more than 92 of its former employees working both in Canada and the United States were hired by the two companies. The workers are suspected to have given Mitsubishi Aircraft information about the certification process of two aviation authorities: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its Canadian equivalent, Transport Canada. The information would help Mitsubishi Aircraft accelerate the certification process for the MRJ, whose development has been delayed for seven years.

Bombardier states that by doing so, Mitsubishi Aircraft and AeroTEC violated the US Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, hence the filing of the complaint in Seattle. The Canadian plane maker is asking for monetary reparations and an injunction for its Japanese competitor not to use the confidential information that was obtained. Bombardier also asks Mitsubishi Aircraft to stop hiring their former employees.

Mitsubishi Aircraft answered in an official statement. “We strongly reject this lawsuit and find their allegations and assertions without merit,” they commented, adding “we see […] this lawsuit primarily as an attempt by Bombardier to stifle global competition.”