Analysis Group Supports Electric Aircraft Company’s Trial Win in Trade Secret Misappropriation Litigation Against Boeing

June 25, 2024

Analysis Group was retained on behalf of the electric aircraft company Zunum Aero, the plaintiff in a trade secret misappropriation litigation against Boeing. Zunum alleged that Boeing misappropriated proprietary information on Zunum’s all-electric and hybrid-electric aircraft. Specifically, Zunum alleged that Boeing misused its position as an investor with due-diligence rights to use Zunum’s ideas and designs to develop its own technology before eventually interfering with Zunum’s ability to continue to raise money. The disputed trade secrets concerned hybrid-electric aircraft and aircraft electrification generally.

An Analysis Group team led by Vice Presidents Peter Finch and Andrea Hugill supported industry experts Viswanath Tata and Luiz Andrade, who submitted expert reports and provided testimony at deposition and trial. Professor Tata and Mr. Andrade testified that Zunum’s design and powertrain trade secrets were novel and derived value from being secret. Furthermore, following a detailed analysis of Boeing’s technical documentation and internal communication alongside information in Zunum’s documents, both experts opined that there was evidence that Boeing benefited from the trade secrets and otherwise used them in its own projects for purposes beyond mere due diligence.

A federal jury in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle found that Boeing had misappropriated 11 of Zunum’s trade secrets, unjustly enriched itself in the process, and interfered with the company’s efforts to secure additional rounds of funding. Zunum was awarded more than $80 million in damages on its trade secret claim, an award subject to trebling in the court’s discretion given the jury’s finding that Boeing’s misappropriation was “willful and malicious.”