San Francisco, June 9
Aerospace giant Boeing has been sued by Colorado-based Wilson Aerospace over alleged theft of intellectual property (IP) related to NASA's Artemis rocket mission.
In the lawsuit, the small family-run tools company claimed that Boeing has stolen its IP related to multiple devices over the last two decades.
The company alleged that Boeing built "counterfeit" variations of Wilson's tools for NASA projects including the International Space Station (ISS) and its NASA's Space Launch Systems rocket.
It stated that the tools that Boeing passed on as its own to NASA were behind the leaks on ISS and hydrogen leaks during repeated attempts to fuel and launch SLS rocket for its Artemis 1 mission. These endangered lives of astronauts.
"Boeing has not only stolen our intellectual property and damaged our company's reputation but has used the technology incorrectly and at the expense of astronauts' safety, which is beyond despicable," said David Wilson, Jr., Wilson Aerospace president and founder, in a press statement.
Wilson's "lawsuit is rife with inaccuracies and omissions", a Boeing spokesperson was quoted as saying in a statement to CNBC.
According to Wilson's lawyer Pete Flowers, the theft of tools helped Boeing's win billions in contract awards and fees from the government, while the company faced a loss of "hundreds of millions of dollars".
The company brought 10 claims against Boeing, including claims of copyright infringement, misappropriation and theft of trade secrets, and fraud, the report said.
Wilson said it believes the theft is "a broader pattern of criminal behaviour by Boeing". The company pointed to prior litigation such as theft of Lockheed Martin trade secrets in 2006.
"We fully believe that there are other companies, probably small American-owned companies, that have been affected by this same activity inside Boeing," Wilson lawyer Flowers told CNBC.
"We will vigorously defend against this in court," Boeing said.