Fortescue Sues Former Unit CFO and Scientists for Theft of Hydrogen-Free Green Iron Technology

By June 7, 2024 2   min read  (296 words)

June 7, 2024 |

Fortescue Sues Former Unit CFO and Scientists for Theft of Hydrogen Free Green Iron Technology

Fortescue, opens new tab has sued two of its former scientists and a former finance head, alleging “misuse” of confidential information regarding the miner’s green iron ore technology, a judgement, opens new tab by the Federal Court of Australia showed on Wednesday.

The world’s fourth-largest iron ore miner accused Bart Kolodziejczyk and Bjorn Winther-Jensen of copying what it said was confidential information regarding its green iron ore technology and taking it to their startup Element Zero after leaving the company.

It also named Michael Masterman, who departed as the chief financial officer of Fortescue’s green energy arm in mid-2022 and later co-founded Element Zero with Kolodziejczyk, as one of the respondents in the lawsuit.

Fortescue sought search orders at the startup’s two offices in Western Australia and one in Victoria, alleging that Kolodziejczyk and Winther-Jensen used the copied technology in the designing and engineering of an industrial pilot plant, the judgement showed.

“As a first mover, our intellectual property is critical to our ongoing success in this pursuit and must be protected at all times,” Fortescue said in an email to Reuters, but declined to comment further, saying the matter was sub-judice.

In an emailed response to Reuters, a spokesperson for Element Zero said it “believes the legal action is entirely without merit and welcomes the opportunity to respond to Fortescue’s spurious claims”.

“As Element Zero will demonstrate, its green metals technology was developed independently of and is very different from anything that Fortescue is doing or has done in this space,” the spokesperson added.

Reporting by Rajasik Mukherjee in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Aaditya Govind Rao; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala, Janane Venkatraman and Varun H K



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