ALEXANDRIA, Va. (July 19, 2010)—A mining tire design development company and its CEO have won a $26 million judgment against a Chinese tire maker and Dubai distributor for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
Florida-based Tire Engineering and Distribution L.L.C. and CEO Jordan Fishman, accused Shandong LingLong Rubber Co. Ltd. and Al Dobowi Tyre Co. L.L.C. of conspiring with former Alpha executive Sam Vance in 2005 to steal Fishman's unique, proprietary designs for underground mining tires.
Shandong LingLong planned to manufacture tires based on Fishman's designs and Al Dobowi intended to distribute them, the complaint filed Oct. 30, 2009, claimed.
The jury before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on all counts July 15. It levied damages of $26 million against Al Dobowi, Shandong LingLong and their subsidiaries, as well as another firm, TyreX International Ltd., and its subsidiary.
In May 2008, a judge in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Sarasota County, Fla., ordered Vance to pay more than $59 million to his former employers for allegedly stealing blueprints, pricing information and other proprietary documents of Tire Engineering and Distribution—which also does business as Alpha Mining Systems and Alpha Tyre Systems—for Al Dobowi and Guizhou Tire Co., Alpha's then-contractor for manufacturing mining tires. Shandong LingLong entered the conspiracy later, at Al Dobowi's invitation, the Virginia court complaint alleges.
However, the Florida Second District Court of Appeal vacated the judgment on April 30, 2010, ruling that had not provided sufficient evidence that Florida courts had jurisdiction over Vance, who has never lived in Florida. Vance never appeared in the Florida courts and is now living in China.
Neither Fishman nor John Barr, a Houston attorney representing Al Dobowi, could be reached for comment.