IMAX Files Secrets Claims Round the World

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – IMAX claims in court that a competitor engages in “high tech piracy” of large-format digital movie technology by using trade secrets stolen by a former IMAX software developer.
     IMAX sued GDC Technology USA, of Burbank, and three GDC affiliates, in Superior Court, alleging trade secret misappropriation, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition.
     IMAX asked a judge to “permanently to stop GDC’s illegal commercial exploitation of IMAX’s trade secret large format digital theatre, projection system and film conversion technologies.”
     IMAX sued GDC in Federal Court in June, claiming that the company had blown off a cease-and-desist letter.
     IMAX has dismissed its federal complaint and refiled on Monday in state court.
     According to the 17-page lawsuit, IMAX’s former software developer Gary Tsui (not a party to the lawsuit) stole the trade secrets, including 2-D and 3-D conversion technology. He then “surreptitiously” gave it to China Film Giant Screen, where he works as a software engineer, IMAX says.
     After IMAX sued Tsui in Beijing in February, he partnered with GDC, which is using the stolen technology to “compete globally with IMAX,” the lawsuit states.
     “Unabated, defendants will be the knowing participants in this high tech piracy, to their financial benefit and IMAX’s detriment,” the complaint states.
     IMAX claims that Tsui stole source code for its technology in November 2009. While still an IMAX employee he formed Jiangsu Sunway Digital Inc. to undercut by 13 percent his employer’s bid for a large format 3-D theater for a science and technology museum in Hangzhou, China, the lawsuit alleges.
     “IMAX is informed and believes that it was impossible for Sunway to have independently developed the necessary technology (technology that took IMAX over four decades to create) to complete the Hangzhou project in the four short months between when the company was formed and when it won the Hangzhou bid,” the complaint states.
     Tsui was fired on Nov. 26, 2009. IMAX says it then uncovered “abundant evidence of his creation of Sunway and his rampant use of IMAX’s trade secrets for his personal gain.”
     Tsui stole two computer hard drives from the Ontario, Canada headquarters where he had worked for 10 years, and escaped to China, IMAX claims.
     IMAX says it has tailed Tsui across the globe, and took legal action against him in China and Canada.
     “Through those suits, IMAX uncovered voluminous, conclusive proof of Tsui’s retention and theft of IMAX’s confidential and proprietary trade secrets, including CDs containing the source code for IMAX’s 2D/3D conversion process and re-mastering technology, as well as the repeated use of IMAX’s trade secrets to form companies in Canada and China in direct competition with IMAX,” the lawsuit states. “Based on that evidence, IMAX has obtained extraordinary relief from two foreign tribunals, including a rarely granted, multi-site search and seizure order, a contempt order, and ultimately an arrest warrant issued by the Canadian court, and a broad search and seizure order issued by the Beijing court and executed by several Chinese judges.”
     IMAX calls Tsui an “international fugitive,” subject to an arrest warrant in Ontario. It claims that Tsui is now in Los Angeles with GDC, where the company is trying to get public funding for its large-screen technology.
     Also sued are GDC Technology of America, and GDC affiliates based in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands.
     IMAX seeks an injunction against GDC, and actual, compensatory and punitive damages, and royalties and costs.
     It is represented by Chad Hummel of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.
     GDC could not immediately be reached for comment after business hours Monday.

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