GTAT expands suit over alleged IP theft



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GT Advanced Technologies has widened its litigation against the Italian citizen who allegedly stole the Merrimack-based company's technology and the California company that allegedly benefited from the alleged intellectual property thievery.The maker of equipment and materials used to manufacture solar cells and LED lighting filed suit last week against Poly Plant Project Inc. and PPP Equipment Corp., both of Burbank, Calif., for misappropriation of GTAT's trade secrets relating to the company's polysilicon reactor equipment.The suits stems from allegations first filed in 2008 against Fabrizio Goi. They relate to a 2006 deal in which GTAT - then called GT Solar -- bought a 99-year exclusive license to design a "36-rod reactor" designed by Poly Engineering S.r.L., an Italian design firm. It contracted with VRV S.p.A. -- where Goi was sales director -- to fabricate it in September of that year.Goi said that he only visited GT Solar once in order to describe VRV's technology and production capacity and that he was involved in only limited discussions of the purchase agreement. There are, however, extensive emails that led a New Hampshire judge to rule that the case should go forward against him.On March 31, 2008, Goi abruptly quit VRV, with no advance notice, forfeiting three months' salary to work for Poly Plant Project Inc. A few months later, according to the suit, PPP started marketing a 36-rod reactor, which GTAT claims was the same as GT Solar's."It was not possible for PPP to have designed and engineered a fully functional 36-rod reactor capable of integration into a polysilicon factory within a matter of months," the suit against PPP claims.PPP had previously explored a business relationship with VRV but was rebuffed. As a result of those discussions, PPP formed a relationship with Goi before he quit VRV, the suit alleges.The federal suit against Goi in New Hampshire was put on hold for a while, but according to the federal docket, a jury trial has been tentatively scheduled for Jan. 4, 2012. -- BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW Edit ModuleShow Tags