10 Black Donuts defendants convicted for violating Nokian’s business secrets

The Finnish District Court of Pirkanmaa has sentenced 10 former Nokian Tyres employees who transferred to the Black Donuts Engineering group of companies for “the violation and abuse of Nokian Tyres’ business secrets”. According to Nokian, the District Court convicted all the defendants. Eight defendants were sentenced to conditional imprisonment of 6–18 months and two received fines. The managing director and two other executives from Black Donuts Engineering Oy were sentenced to business prohibitions of 3–5 years in addition to imprisonment.

The defendants were four companies and 10 private individuals. The individuals resigned from Nokian Tyres between 2010 and 2011. They were charged with the theft of tens of thousands of records containing Nokian Tyres’ business secrets (related to tyre technology and product development, for example) and their utilisation in competing business. The prosecution sought imprisonment, business prohibitions, fines, fines imposed on a corporation and loss of benefits from criminal activities for the defendants, among other things. One person has been sentenced to unconditional imprisonment on the case earlier.

Black Donuts Engineering Oy was obliged to pay 300,000 euros in fines imposed on a corporation and 537,500 euros in loss of benefits to the state. The defendants were also obliged to pay over 600,000 euros in legal expenses to Nokian Tyres. According to the District Court’s verdict, Nokian Tyres was exposed to risk of loss; however, since the damage caused could not be unambiguously demonstrated, no reparations were imposed.

“This case has been processed since 2011, so we are happy that a decision has finally been reached and all defendants have been convicted. The decision documents and their appendices contain more than 300 pages, so we will study them carefully and form our final opinion later on”, said Hille Korhonen, president and CEO for Nokian Tyres.

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