FLIR Systems has been cleared of misappropriating trade secrets in a long-running dispute with Raytheon.
The case, heard in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, related to the way in which infrared detector maker Indigo Systems – acquired by FLIR way back in 2004 – manufactured its products, Optics.org website reported.
Raytheon's claims in March 2007 were based on allegations that Indigo had hired former Raytheon employees to obtain trade secrets relating to infrared camera technology used in military and commercial applications.
Having subsequently disassembled an Indigo camera, Raytheon also claimed breach of contract and patent infringement, while counterclaims from FLIR and Indigo alleged that Raytheon's patents involved in the suit were invalid.
In August 2009, a federal court in Texas dismissed most of Raytheon’s claims, on the basis that the defense firm should have brought the lawsuit much earlier, when it first suspected the alleged wrongdoing. However, that decision was overturned unanimously in the federal appeal court three years later, while in 2010 the two parties settled the patent claims with a $3 million payment from FLIR to Raytheon.
Now, a Texas jury has firmly rejected the remaining trade secret allegations. Raytheon had listed 31 different items, but court documents seen by optics.org show that the jury decided that only four of them were in fact trade secrets – and that neither FLIR nor Indigo had misappropriated them anyway.
The 27 alleged “secrets” rejected by the jury included passivation of indium antimonide detector material, diamond point turning with automated leveling, and the use of a silver/gold alloy wire for an electrical interface.
FLIR CEO Andy Teich said in a company statement: "Today's finding from the jury confirmed our belief that Raytheon's lawsuit was wholly without merit.
"We look forward to having this case behind us and continuing to create the world's most innovative, high performance, affordable, and user-friendly sensor systems for a growing number of customers."