A federal judge in Virginia upheld a jury verdict July 21, awarding a mining tire design development company and its chief executive officer a $26 million judgment against Dubai-based tire distributor Al Dobowi Tyre Co. L.L.C. and Chinese tire maker Shandong LingLong Rubber Co. Ltd., for alleged copyright infringement.
Florida-based Tire Engineering and Distribution L.L.C., which also does business as Alpha Mining Systems and Alpha Tyre Systems, and its CEO, Jordan Fishman, accused Al Dobowi and Shandong LingLong of conspiring with former Alpha executive Sam Vance in 2005 to steal Mr. Fishman's unique, proprietary designs for underground mining tires.
Shandong LingLong planned to manufacture tires based on Mr. Fishman's designs, and Al Dobowi planned to distribute them, the complaint filed Oct. 30, 2009, claimed.
The jury before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on all counts July 15. It levied damages of $26 million against Al Dobowi and Shandong LingLong.
In May 2008, a judge in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Sarasota County, Fla., ordered Mr. Vance to pay more than $59 million to his former employers for allegedly stealing blueprints, pricing information and other proprietary Alpha documents for Al Dobowi.
However, the Florida Second District Court of Appeal vacated the judgment on April 30, ruling that Alpha had not provided evidence that Florida courts had jurisdiction over Mr. Vance, who had never lived in Florida.
Shandong LingLong entered the alleged conspiracy at Al Dobowi's invitation, the Virginia court determined.
Mr. Vance never appeared in the Florida court and is now living in China.