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Boeing accused of technology theft

June 8, 2023

Boeing’s aerospace division is being sued for alleged theft of IP concerning the counterfeiting of highly specialised tools used on NASA projects.

The action comes from Colorado-based Wilson Aerospace which is suing Boeing over what Wilson alleges is its ‘Fluid Fitting Torque Device-3’ developed by Wilson, and which Boeing used to attach four main engines to the Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle.

The writ was filed at a US District Court in Seattle and states that Boeing’s use of “counterfeit” technology puts “lives at risk”.

The technology is used for the precision fitting of crucial fixing nuts in extremely confined spaces. Wilson argues that its technology ensured that the four booster engines are correctly attached to the core rocket. Boeing is the prime contractor on the SLS.

“Without the engines installed and fitted perfectly, the rocket could not launch,” the lawsuit argues. “This was an existential threat to the entire SLS project and especially to Boeing’s continued involvement in the lucrative project. Boeing had not yet figured out a way to attach all the components because the tight, confined spaces at the ‘boat tail’ of the rocket did not permit the use of Boeing’s existing tools; nor did any other tools calibrate the torque needed with the extreme precision required by NASA for the SLS program.”

The allegations state that at a ‘live’ demo of its technology before Boeing engineers and staff but seven of those in attendance were not employees of Boeing but direct competitors to Wilson. “This fact was concealed from Wilson who was deceived by Boeing and the ‘Bogus Boeing Employees’ into giving the presentation by falsely suggesting to Wilson that everyone was a Boeing employee.”

Wilson argues that its proprietary engineering drawings and designs were used by Boeing and the competitors to defraud Wilson.

Boeing states that the lawsuit is “rife with inaccuracies” and that it will “vigorously” defend the claims in court.

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