GM Daewoo Files Action Over Car 'Copying' by Russia Firm

Filed to prevent TagAZ Korea from breaching GM Daewoo's intellectual property rights and trade secrets

GM Daewoo, the South Korean subsidiary of General Motors, said on Sept. 22 it has launched a court action to prevent a Russian automaker from allegedly copying one of its cars.

A GM Daewoo spokesman said the firm filed a petition last week with the Seoul central district court "to prevent TagAZ Korea from breaching our intellectual property rights and trade secrets."

It seeks an injunction to stop TagAZ from developing, manufacturing, selling and exporting copied products and from using and disclosing GM Daewoo's trade secrets, he said.

The first hearing will be held on Sept. 23.

Prosecutors said this month that two former GM Daewoo engineers now working for TagAZ Korea have been arrested for allegedly leaking core technology to the Russian firm. Investigators said one man was suspected of stealing 6,000 computer files containing information on engine and parts designs and other key technology linked to GM Daewoo's Lacetti compact sedan. They said the data is believed to have been used to develop a new model unveiled in Russia this summer.

Police said a third man, an executive of TagAZ Korea, committed suicide after leaving notes asserting his innocence.

"When prosecution authorities complete investigations into the case, we will consider filing a damages lawsuit against TagAZ Korea," the GM Daewoo spokesman, Kim Sang-Won, said.

The cost of developing a model such as the Lacetti averages around 300 billion won (US$245 million), GM Daewoo said.

A TagAZ Korea official said his company had no comment pending completion of the investigation by prosecutors.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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