Tecnomatic S.p.A., an international maker of stator technology used in hybrid and electric automobiles, filed a $110-million lawsuit today in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Remy, Inc. The lawsuit claims that proprietary technology (called High Voltage Hairpin (HVH) stator winding technology by Remy, earlier post) developed by Tecnomatic S.p.A. was improperly secured by Remy and referenced in Remy’s application for $60 million in taxpayer grants from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) in October 2008. According to the complaint, at least one former Remy employee has submitted sworn testimony demonstrating that the company’s application to the DOE included technical materials developed by Tecnomatic S.p.A.
After several attempts at settlement, we are extremely disappointed to have brought this lawsuit against one of our customers. Theft of intellectual property is something we take very seriously, and we fully intend to pursue this action until our claims have been satisfied. We acted in good faith over the course of four years under the pretense that Tecnomatic would be working together with Remy as part of a joint venture. Instead, we now have an adversary that has wrongfully adopted our technology as their own to establish a significant presence in this market.—Giuseppe Ranalli, President and CEO of Tecnomatic S.p.A.
Since its founding in 1973, Tecnomatic S.p.A. has developed manufacturing systems that make complex stators, which are used as a key component of electric motors including those used by the hybrid automotive industry.
The lawsuit details 15 separate charges including fraudulent misrepresentation, misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of fiduciary duty. In addition, the suit claims that during a period of mutual confidentiality, Remy modified drawings and documentation supplied by Tecnomatic S.p.A. in order to conceal its true origin. Tecnomatic charges that this material was instrumental in successfully securing a $60-million grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Tecnomatic S.p.A. is a leading supplier of product industrialization and process development systems used in the design and manufacturing of special machine and automatic assembly lines. The firm was established in 1973 as a builder of equipment assembly lines for automotive components. Today, Tecnomatic develops automated assembly systems for a wide array of automotive components including alternator stators, turbochargers, electric motors, heat exchangers, starters, latches, wiper motors, ignition coils, engines, electric steering, air bags, glow plugs for diesel motors and other components. Customers have included Honeywell Turbo Technologies, Valeo, Ferrari, General Motors, Continental Temic, Magneti Marelli, Ford Motor Company, VM Motori, TRW, Denso, Magna, Dong Feng, Pierburg Pump Technologies (PPT), ABB and GKN, among others.
Tecnomatic is headquartered in Italy with offices in India, Shanghai, Brazil, and Romania.