California firm fires back in GT suit

GT Advanced Technology is employing a “continued strategy of competition by litigation” in filing a “frivolous” and “completely false and baseless” lawsuit against Poly Plant Project Inc. last week, the Burbank, Calif., company said in a Monday morning press release.”This lawsuit only validates PPP’s belief that PPP is a true competitor in the eyes of GT Solar and the polysilicon industry,” PPP said. (Merrimack-based GT Advanced Technology changed its name from GT Solar earlier this year.)Last week, in California federal court, GT widened its litigation against the Italian citizen who allegedly stole the company’s technology to include PPP, which allegedly benefits from the theft.The original 2008 suit — still pending in U.S. District Court in Concord — targeted Fabrizio Goi, concerning a 2006 deal in which GT bought a 99-year exclusive license to make a “36-rod reactor” designed by Poly Engineering S.r.L, an Italian design firm, and contracted with VRV S.p.A. — where Goi was sales director — to fabricate it in September of that year.In March 2008, Goi quit VRV and started working for PPP, which a few months later started marketing the 36-rod reactor — a reactor that GT alleges PPP could not have made on its own so quickly.But PPP flatly denies that it took GT’s technology.”At no time was proprietary or confidential proprietary information from GT Advanced Technologies imparted or disclosed to anyone at PPP for use in its products,” said Michael J. Connolly, a partner at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP, which represents PPP and Goi, who is referred to in the release as a “prized PPP consultant”Goi, he said, “had substantial years of experience in the design and fabrication of different types of polysilicon reactors before GTAT had entered this market,” said Connolly.The 36-rod reactor isn’t unique to GTAT, added Jan Maurits, PPP’s president.It “is being sold by a number of companies and is in use all over the world by many polysilicon plants,” Maurits said.Indeed, PPP has been “using a 54-rod design which is more efficient and produces more polysilicon than the smaller, 48- and 36-rod reactors similar to those being sold by GT Solar,” Maurits added.PPP is a privately held company based in California with offices in Italy, Dubai, China, Seoul and Japan.GT has also filed another intellectual property suit against its founder, Kedar Gupta, over alleged theft of technology to make sapphire crystals used in LED lighting. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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