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Boeing Lawsuit Blasts Off: Virgin Galactic Accused of Stealing Trade Secrets


July 11, 2024

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Boeing and its subsidiary, Aurora Flight Sciences, are reportedly suing Virgin Galactic, a space tourism start-up, for allegedly misappropriating trade secrets and failing to pay $25 million for work completed. Aurora was tasked by Virgin Galactic to complete design work related to a "Mothership" project, but, due to budgetary and timeline constraints, the project came to a premature end.


The trade secrets Boeing and Aurora are claiming to have been misappropriated are technical specifications, modeling equations and test data provided to Virgin Galactic in the process of the development of the project. Virgin Galactic was requested to destroy this proprietary information, but allegedly declined to do so. Boeing is reportedly worried that the trade secrets could be used by Virgin Galactic. Further, Aurora has allegedly not yet been paid $25 million by Virgin Galactic for design work that it completed before the project came to an end.


Virgin Galactic has also filed a countersuit against Boeing, claiming that Boeing did a “shoddy and incomplete” job in the development of the Mothership project. Virgin Galactic claims that the initial baseline review (IBR) of the project was so poorly done that Boeing agreed to redo the IBR. The redo allegedly was worse than the first.


Virgin Galactic has also responded to the claims of misappropriating trade secrets, and has stated that all information provided to Virgin Galactic either belongs to it or that it has been appropriately licensed to use the information pursuant to a master agreement between Boeing and Virgin.

 

Authors: Jeffreen Rahman and Kasia Donovan

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