IMAX Sues Burbank Company For Using What It Claims Is Stolen Large-Screen Technology

IMAX is suing GDC Technology for using what it says are stolen trade secrets tied to its large-screen digital projection system. According to the complaint (read it here) filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, the giant-screen pioneer claims a former employee poached its core projection and 2D-to-3D conversion technology, including source codes, and stealthily provided it to film companies in China. It says Gary Tsui, who is not named as a defendant, became the “chief engineer” of a company now known as China Film Giant Screen and that Burbank-based GDC has been using the trade secrets through, among other things, its relationship with CFGS “in its efforts to unfairly compete with IMAX.” The complaint says that IMAX discovered in 2009 that “Tsui had stolen its proprietary and trade secret information” and set up his own competitor company. And later he beat IMAX on a bid for a significant project in China. IMAX claims it launched its own investigation of Tsui and eventually sued him in Canada and China.The company says it was granted search-and-seizure warrant, a contempt order and eventually an arrest warrant for him in Ontario, where IMAX is based, and later got a Chinese court to issue search-and-seizure warrants. The company claims Tsui is “an international fugitive and his plan to profit unlawfully from the technology stolen from IMAX has now touched U.S. soil with Defendant GDC’s efforts to market CFGS with the benefit of public funding.” IMAX is suing for misappropriation of trade secrets, unjust enrichment and unfair competition and seeking unspecified damages, royalties related to the trade secrets, injunctive relief and legal fees. Also named as defendants are Delaware-based GDC Technology of America and a pair of overseas GDC affiliates. Attorneys Chad Hummel, Shari Mulrooney Woolman and Erin Witkow of LA’s Manatt Phelps & Phillips are representing IMAX.

Comments (13)

  • Go get ‘em, Imax.

    Comment by biff — Monday August 12, 2013 @ 7:57pm PDT  
  • Of course, the cynic in me can’t help but note that this never could have happened if IMAX hadn’t pursued its “Fake IMAX” technology and charged people the same premium prices for an inferior experience. Cosmic justice, I calls it.

    Comment by cadavra — Monday August 12, 2013 @ 10:01pm PDT  
  • Maybe IMAX should have protected those trade secrets better.

    Comment by Well gee... — Monday August 12, 2013 @ 11:59pm PDT  
  • You mean China hadn’t already hacked it?

    Comment by jack — Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 2:04am PDT  
  • I like GDC projectors over the other projectors used at the theaters in my area. Suing is what these companies must do instead of being innovative in their technology.

    Comment by Joe — Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 2:19am PDT  
    • So then, you spend how much time illegally downloading movies and music? I mean, your comment shows a complete disregard for intellectual property.

      Comment by Gary Alexander — Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 5:48am PDT  
    • And apparently, stealing is what GDC does instead of being innovative in their technology.

      Comment by Chris — Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 7:34am PDT  
  • Like our President says…”We should share our wealth”.

    Comment by pete — Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 5:06am PDT  
  • I really abhor people and companies who steal secrets. What wimps that they can’t come up with something on their own. This and Snowden should be a lesson to all companies. You have to be really careful who you hire.

    Comment by Karen — Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 6:00am PDT  
  • IMAX should come up with their own NEW technologies that play well with the rest of the industry. The toaster oven cameras for capture are clunky – so loud to operate that every scene requires ADR and ancient film recorders that you could find in your grandma’s basement. Step it up IMAX. The big screen format is exciting and brilliant but your smoke and mirrors are as old as a magic show at a County fair. If you want to keep it BIG, Grow a bit.

    Comment by lil cooze — Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 6:54am PDT  
  • IMAX should sue itself for devaluing its brand (and misappropriating a core asset) with all those LIEMAX/minimax multiplex-installs that tarnish the name IMAX with screens that are hardly “giant”.

    Comment by John Whorfin — Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 8:51am PDT  
  • On a related topic…Why didn’t Doug Trumbull take issue with Peter Jackson regarding his release of a movie shot and projected at 48 fps. Even though Shoscan was shot at 60 frames and projected at 60, I would think that their intellectual property was infringed upon.

    Comment by pete — Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 9:52am PDT  
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