IMAX is suing GDC Technology for using what it says are stolen trade secrets tied to its large-screen digital projection system. According to the complaint (read it here) filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, the giant-screen pioneer claims a former employee poached its core projection and 2D-to-3D conversion technology, including source codes, and stealthily provided it to film companies in China. It says Gary Tsui, who is not named as a defendant, became the “chief engineer” of a company now known as China Film Giant Screen and that Burbank-based GDC has been using the trade secrets through, among other things, its relationship with CFGS “in its efforts to unfairly compete with IMAX.” The complaint says that IMAX discovered in 2009 that “Tsui had stolen its proprietary and trade secret information” and set up his own competitor company. And later he beat IMAX on a bid for a significant project in China. IMAX claims it launched its own investigation of Tsui and eventually sued him in Canada and China.The company says it was granted search-and-seizure warrant, a contempt order and eventually an arrest warrant for him in Ontario, where IMAX is based, and later got a Chinese court to issue search-and-seizure warrants. The company claims Tsui is “an international fugitive and his plan to profit unlawfully from the technology stolen from IMAX has now touched U.S. soil with Defendant GDC’s efforts to market CFGS with the benefit of public funding.” IMAX is suing for misappropriation of trade secrets, unjust enrichment and unfair competition and seeking unspecified damages, royalties related to the trade secrets, injunctive relief and legal fees. Also named as defendants are Delaware-based GDC Technology of America and a pair of overseas GDC affiliates. Attorneys Chad Hummel, Shari Mulrooney Woolman and Erin Witkow of LA’s Manatt Phelps & Phillips are representing IMAX.

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