Motorola Inc. owes $45 billion to the founders of a defunct Florida company for stealing their ideas for a vehicle-tracking system, a lawyer for the men said at the start of a trial over trade secrets.SPS Technologies Corp.’s founders were duped into providing Motorola with engineering details and a client list, SPS attorney Willie Gary told jurors Thursday in state court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Motorola then abandoned a joint venture that was to develop the system, forcing SPS out of business, he said.
Motorola didn’t deal in good faith,??? said Gary. They lied to these men and they stole from them. That’s the way they do business.???
Motorola denies the allegations.
SPS founders Juan Cantor and Roberto La Rocca say they created the tracking system in the late 1990s after more than six years of testing to combat car thefts in Latin America. The system, which allows users to track vehicles in real time using wireless-data transmission, had the potential to be a $150 billion product, Gary said.
Cantor and La Rocca were there to be taken because they didn’t know what they had,??? Gary told jurors.
SPS lawyers claim Schaumburg-based Motorola used the technology to develop its iRadio system, which combines emergency calling and roadside assistance with a global positioning system that uses satellites to track a vehicle.
They just took SPS’s technology,??? Manny Socias, an attorney for SPS Technologies, said today. They just took it and took it without shame and said, â€˜It’s ours.’¦???
Motorola calls the lawsuit baseless. The iRadio system was already in development before Motorola met with SPS, company attorney George Selby said. Motorola also denies entering into any contract with SPS or committing to an investment in the company.
Bert Ocariz, an attorney for Motorola, said SPS signed several agreements allowing it to investigate a venture with no obligation to sign a deal.
Motorola did nothing wrong,??? Ocariz said. Motorola did not take their technologies. Motorola did not crush their dreams. The parties were signing contracts along the way so they knew exactly what they were supposed to do, what they could do, and what they couldn’t do.???
Gary has a history of taking on corporations in court and winning. In 2000, Gary and co-counsel Johnnie Cochran won a $240 million jury award against Walt Disney Co. and in 2001 he won a $139 million verdict against Anheuser-Busch Cos. In 1996, he won a $500 million jury award against Loewen Group Inc., a Canadian owner of funeral homes.