N.H. exec at center of competition suit

Hutchinson Sealing Systems, a French-owned firm with a plant in Newfields, is being sued in federal court for allegedly hiring a competitor’s top technical manager as the deputy manager at its New Hampshire facility in order to get the trade secrets that they could not buy outright.

In a suit filed Nov. 21 in U.S. District Court in Concord, JYCO Sealing Technologies — a Canadian-owned company based in Michigan — said that Hollis resident Robert Dion quit as the company’s sole technical manager in September, taking JYCO’s laptop and “cookbook” for manufacturing the company’s improved material to weather-seal automobiles.

Hutchinson, a French-owned company with U.S. headquarters in Michigan, has more than $2.5 billion in sales and employs more than 500 people at its Newfields, N.H., plant, making it one of the top 20 manufacturing employers in the state.

JYCO said Hutchinson, had tried to buy JYCO for $15 million in March 2004, but when JYCO countered with a deal to set up a joint venture, Hutchinson’s president, Andre Cadet, refused the offer, saying, “We do not share technology; we own it.”

It was in March 2004 when Dion started at JYCO, according to the suit. He first resigned on Sept. 6, 2005, but he rescinded his resignation three days later and agreed to sign a confidentially agreement after the company offered to open a manufacturing plant in New Hampshire, near his family, according to the filing.

He then quit again on Sept. 19, saying that he didn’t have the skills and knowledge need to build and run a compounding plant, and refused to sign a confidentiality agreement, according to the filing.

The company charges that its examination of the returned laptop reveals that the confidential files were accessed Sept. 19. Customers also told JYCO that Hutchinson was boasting that it had Dion and JYCO’s technology, the firm alleges.

JYCO is asking the court to enjoin Dion from being employed by Hutchinson or any other employer, return all records and copies and pay an unspecified amount in damages.

Dion, reached by NHBR Daily at the Hutchinson facility in Newfields, declined to comment on the lawsuit. — BOB SANDERS

Categories: News