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Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

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Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over alleged trade secret misappropriation.

The Quebec aerospace company alleges some of its own former employees passed on documents containing trade secrets to Mitsubishi before going to work for the company.

The 92-page legal complaint filed in a Seattle court on Friday also targets Aerospace Testing Engineering & Certification (AeroTEC), which supports the Japanese multinational in the development of its MRJ airliner, as well as several ex-Bombardier employees.

None of the allegations contained in the court documents have been proven in court.

A Mitsubishi spokesman says the allegations are unfounded and the company says it will prove so in court.

AeroTEC did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Bombardier says employees recruited to share secrets

Bombardier alleges Mitsubishi Aircraft and AeroTEC recruited no less than 92 of its former employees from both Canada and the United States.

The former workers named in the lawsuit allegedly forwarded documents regarding the certification process to Transport Canada and its American counterpart, the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The process is incredibly costly, time-consuming, and complex — even for the most experienced of aircraft manufacturers who have gone through that process and developed trade secrets to face it more efficiently,” the document reads.

This process is essential to the process of ensuring newly developed planes are given permission to fly.

Bombardier alleges that Mitsubishi specifically recruited employees who had experience with the certification process. (Radio-Canada)

Bombardier recently went through the process during the development of the C Series program, which was plagued by delays and cost overruns. The aircraft was later rebranded A220 after Airbus took a majority stake in the program.

“Bombardier has spent about a decade and several billion dollars bringing the C Series from concept to realization and this is not abnormal for an airplane that has been imagined from the drawing board,” the court documents state.

Bombardier alleges that Mitsubishi specifically recruited employees who had experience with the certification process and broke the law when it used confidential documents obtained from these employees in order to accelerate the timelines for its own MRJ airliner.

The MRJ, which can transport up to 90 passengers, is scheduled to enter service in 2020, much later than the original 2013 date.

‘We don’t take this issue lightly’

In one case cited in the court documents, one of Bombardier’s ex-workers allegedly used a personal Yahoo email to transfer “very sensitive” and “secret” information concerning the Global 7000 and 8000 programs as well as exchanges with Transport Canada on device certification.

Other similar exchanges allegedly occurred through private accounts, this time through Gmail.

“We don’t take this issue lightly,” Bombardier spokesman Simon Letendre told The Canadian Press in an email. “Bombardier intends to take all necessary measures to protect its intellectual property.”

Bombardier is seeking unspecified financial damages as well as an injunction barring Mitsubishi Aircraft and AeroTEC from using confidential information allegedly obtained from ex-employees.

The Quebec aircraft manufacturer is also asking Mitsubishi and its partner to stop recruiting within its workforce to get access to privileged information.

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Ontario’s new automated speed enforcement explained

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(NC) To wage the war against speeding, many municipalities across Ontario have turned to automated speed enforcement. Most recently introduced in Toronto, speed cameras are a high-tech solution to reduce speeding and are considered one of the most effective ways to create safer roads and save lives.  

Recognizing police officers cannot catch all speeders, these cameras fill the gap, providing monitoring in specific locations around the clock. When a car’s speed is even one kilometre over the posted amount, it will take a picture of the offending vehicle’s license plate, using the captured photo as indisputable evidence. A ticket is then served to the vehicle’s owner, regardless of who was driving. 

With a focus on high-risk areas, Ontario’s automated speed enforcement cameras are located in two specific municipal areas: school and community safety zones. School zones are designated streets close to a school, featuring reduced speed limits as dictated by local bylaws. Community safety zones are high-risk corridors and intersections, subject to increased fines and penalties.  

While the Ontario Highway Traffic Act outlines the use of automated speed enforcement, municipalities can decide when and where to use cameras to curb speeding. The act does dictate financial penalties for speed violations captured with cameras, which vary depending on the number of kilometres caught over the speed limit.  

Speed enforcement is not new, but part of a broader, integrated road safety strategy that includes infrastructure improvements, awareness campaigns and new uses of technology. City officials hope for a halo effect, inspiring better driving behaviour across entire communities, not only in areas with cameras. A controversial topic, some critics take exception to speed cameras, labelling them as sneaky cash grabs for municipalities. Governments think the opposite. 

Safety advocate and auto insurance provider Onlia is hopeful that the cameras will provide drivers with a reminder to slow down, especially in high-risk areas like school and community safety zones.  

For those who obey the speed limit, automated speed enforcement shouldn’t change anything about your driving style, says Alex Kelly, Safety Ambassador at OnliaDrivers have fair warning as they approach areas with speed cameras, as mandatory signs provide reasonable notice of upcoming automated speed enforcement. Regardless of warnings, the best speed is the posted speed. 

You can start to understand your speeding style by downloading the insurance provider’s new safe driving app that coaches and rewards for you for safe driving habits.

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Online banking: How to protect yourself from fraud

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(NC) Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, a growing number of consumers are regularly using mobile and online banking to paybill payments, transfer money and make purchases.

Although these tools can give you easy access to your personal finances on demand, there are also some risks involved. For instance, your banking information—such as your debit or credit card number, user name, or personal identification number (PIN)—could be stolen. If criminals have access to your online banking information, they can steal your money, which is why it’s so important to be  vigilant when you bank online.

Follow these tips to help protect your personal and banking information:

  • For your online bank accounts, use a strong password that can’t be easily guessed, and never share your user name or password with anyone.
  • Check your accounts regularly to make sure there are no transactions you didn’t make or authorize.
  • When making online purchases, never authorize a website to save your credit card information, password or other personal information. Giving websites this permission will save you some time the next time you access the site, but it poses a real threat if a hacker manages to access your information.

Most financial institutions have policies to protect you from transactions that you didn’t make.

However, you are responsible for protecting your online and mobile banking information. If you give your details to anyone—including your spouse or partner, a family member or a friend—your financial institution may hold you responsible for any unauthorized transactions in your account, and even strip you of protection from unauthorized transactions in the future.

If you suspect your information may have been compromised, change your passwords immediately, and check your account and credit card statements for anomalies and report any suspicious transactions to your financial institution.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has created resources to help you protect your online banking information.

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Payday loans: Not the best way to borrow money

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(NC) Payday loans are a very expensive way to borrow money. Even if you’re struggling financially, think twice—and crunch the numbers—before getting this type of loan.

Depending on the rules in your province, payday lenders can charge fees of $15 to $25 per $100 that you borrow.

As an example, let’s say you borrow $300 for home repairs. The payday lender charges you $51 in fees, or $17 for every $100 borrowed. Your loan balance is therefore $351, which amounts to an interest rate of 442 per cent.

There can be serious consequences if you don’t repay your loan by the due date. These may include the following:

  • The payday lender may charge you a fee if there isn’t enough money in your account.
  • Your financial institution may also charge you a fee if there isn’t enough money in your account.
  • The total amount that you owe, including the fees, continues to increase.

There are better options out there

Payday loans should be your last resort to borrow money. Consider cheaper ways of borrowing money, such as:

  • Cashing in vacation days or asking for a pay advance from your employer.
  • Getting a line of credit, a cash advance on a credit card or a personal loan from your financial institution.
  • Getting a loan from family or friends.

Before getting a payday loan and to avoid getting stuck in a debt trap, consider other, less expensive ways to borrow money.

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