An alternative reason WHY Boeing may not have shared its information with JATR

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Boeing not able to respond to regulators on MAX at August meeting

Implied Boeing Didn’t know

 Joint Authorities Technical Review Team composed of many countries -some with bad IP records

Poor global  Intellectual Property Discipline hurts aviation safety

Boeing may need to refine its JART answer to protect IP

The  Joint Authorities Technical Review Team [1] complained that Boeing was not able to respond to the questions of the multinational group (China, the European Aviation Safety Agency, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates)

Boeing was not able to respond to regulator questions on modifications made to the 737 MAX flight control system at an August meeting with international officials, sources said Tuesday.

‘Yes, we attended the meeting,’ said a spokesperson for Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency, adding that Boeing was not able to answer regulators’ specific questions.







Questions about the flight control system surfaced during an FAA review in June separate from oversight of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, an anti-stall system that has been seen as a factor in the two crashes.”

This report probably was read by many to mean that Boeing did not know the answer. Though it is possible that the JATR members have signed non-disclosure agreements, there are good reasons to believe that an immediate response by Boeing may have put at risk some intellectual property. The company may have needed time to refine the technical description answering the JATR questions.

Unfortunately, as noted below, not all countries honor the intellectual property rights created by US laws (with criminal sanctions) and protections created by other nations:

Russian, Italian charged with stealing GE Aviation secrets

China’s Theft & Espionage: What Must Be Done

France is top industrial espionage offender

France is worse than China or Russia when it comes to stealing industrial secrets,

the head of a German satellite company has been quoted as saying in a WikiLeaks cable made public Tuesday.

On French Espionage

The NYT, based on a Le Monde story, reports that “France has its own large program of data collection, which sweeps up nearly all the data transmissions, including telephone calls, e-mails and social media activity, that come in and out of France.”  French officials claim there is “a difference between data collection in the name of security and spying on allied nations.”  Yes, there is a difference.  But France does the latter as well.  France is a well-known leader in industrial espionage.  Ellen Nakashima reported earlier this year that a recent National Intelligence Estimate named France in the second tier of countries behind China that “engaged in hacking for economic intelligence.”  WikiLeaks had earlier revealed American cables indicating that “France is the country that conducts the most industrial espionage on other European countries, even ahead of China and Russia.”





Robert Gates: Most Countries Conduct Economic Espionage

In announcing the indictments of the PLA officers this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated: “This is a case alleging economic espionage by members of the Chinese military and represents the first ever charges against a state actor for this type of hacking…. The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response.  Success in the global marketplace should be based solely on a company’s ability to innovate and compete, not on a sponsor government’s ability to spy and steal business secrets.”

Similarly, FBI Director James Comey said, “For too long, the Chinese government has blatantly sought to use cyber espionage to obtain economic advantage for its state-owned industries,”

According to Gates, however, China is not alone in using its intelligence capabilities for comparative economic advantage, nor is this kind of espionage particularly new. Gates specifically singled out France as particularly aggressive in its use of economic espionage.

“In terms of the next capable next to the Chinese are probably the French. And they’ve been doing it a long time,” Gates said. “France has been a mercantilist country. The government and business have operated hand-in-hand since the time of Louis XIV. This is not exactly a new development in France.”


Intractable Conflict: Intellectual Property V. Safety

IP is not just an issue in which the US asserts its rights; the Ukraine has criminally charged a Russian government owned company with stealing its intellectual property

 a contest between two socialist countries– Communist Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine  (Ukrainian: Кабінет Міністрів України)(the official name of that country) and  Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia (Rosaviatsiya), part of the Communist government of Russia. The former subservient Socialist Republic asserts that Volga Dnper, a Russian state-owned cargo carrier, has committed a criminal offense under Part 2, Article 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, on abuse of official position and forgery of documents for the prolongation of the airworthiness of An-124-100 aircraft Ruslan.”


EASA announced its “Aviation Strategy for Europe.” This marketing campaign’s goal is “to bolster the continent’s €110 billion aviation sector” by negotiating new international relationships with other countries. The target of this sales effort is new “air transport agreements, revising safety regulations and investing in new technology.”

Olivier Jankovec, director General of ACI Europe, commented that this package is a set of actions aimed at opening up access to key external markets and addressing capacity problems in the air and at airports, all while maintaining the highest levels of safety and security. He said that “The Commission has gotten it right – taking stock of the increasing strategic relevance of air connectivity for our economy.”

To add to the volatility of the situation the US President has engaged in tariff wars with both China and Europe. Mercantile considerations are rampant on both sides of that debate; so, a government representative may regard transmitting IP information as part of an appropriate response to the American economic aggression?

All of the above is 100% supposition. There is no evidence to explain why Boeing may not have been 100% forthcoming in response to the requests, but IP poses a very compelling hypothesis.

What is not speculation is that without a strong regime of protecting the rights of individuals and companies investing in technology which advances aviation safety, AVIATION SAFETY is hurt for the holders of that IP have virtually no reason to share their invention.









[1] The JATR is a brilliant mechanism designed to develop a standard solution acceptable to all of the countries. EASA has cast serious doubt that it will participate in a JATR decision.

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