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Tuesday Ticker: Magna enters micro-mobility; PPG secures a secret

Toronto, Ontario ⁠⁠— In this weekly economy report, Magna invests US$77 million into a new market and PPG meets the verdict in a trade secrets lawsuit. 

Magna and micomobility

Aurora, Ont.-based Magna International has announced a US$77 million investment in Indian electric vehicle start-up Yulu, marking Magna’s first move into the micro-mobility market. 

Magna will own a stake and hold a seat on Yulu’s board. The two companies have established a battery-swapping entity.  

Yulu operates around 10,000 low-speed electric two-wheeled vehicles in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, India. It is targeting to add 15 new cities to its portfolio in the next 18 months. 

Micro-mobility is concerned with transportation over short distances⁠—like inter-city travel⁠—via lightweight vehicles like electric scooters or bikes. Initiatives in micro-mobility are often hailed as more environmentally friendly than traditional ICE vehicles. 

“Micro-mobility presents a great opportunity for additional growth for Magna, and joining forces with Yulu helps us expand our business into this rapidly growing sector,” Matteo Del Sorbo, executive vice-president of Magna International and global lead for Magna new mobility, said in a statement.

Secret’s Sealed

A Chinese auto glass maker owes US$26 million following accusations it stole trade secrets from PPG. 

PPG first brought the lawsuit forward in 2015 after “investing heavily” in the development of a new kind of airplane window plastic dubbed Opticore. According to the PPG case’s background detailed in the court’s written opinion, Chinese company Jiangsu Tie Mao Glass (TMG) asked a former PPG employee to provide it with secrets about the technology, despite the employee having signed non-disclosure agreements.

The court’s opinion states that the former PPG employee⁠—now an employee of Jiangsu Tie Mao Glass⁠—provided a propriety report from PPG detailing the Opticor technology. PPG filed suit after being contacted by one of their subcontractors that had been asked to send the “same moulds” used by PPG to TMG. 

Jiangsu Tie Mao Glass failed to appear in the lawsuit until “practically the end,” according to 

GlassBytes.com, effectively conceding the allegations of PPG’s complaint.

“When the misappropriation came to light and PPG sued TMG, the latter watched from overseas rather than litigate,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Kent A. Jordan. “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” 

The court eventually awarded PPG more than US$26 million with respect to Pennsylvania’s Uniform Trade Secrets act.

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