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World Hovercraft Organization > Counterfeit Hovercraft

Neoteric logo

Neoteric Hovercraft Inc

1649 Tippecanoe Street • Terre Haute, Indiana, USA 47807-2394
TELEPHONE: 812-234-1120 • 800-285-3761 • FAX: 812-234-3217
EMAIL: Hovermail@NeotericHovercraft.com • WEB: NeotericHovercraft.com • RescueHovercraft.com

19 August 2008

Mr. Bob Coles
Fleet Manager
Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service
Fire Service Headquarters
Waterwells Drive
Quedgeley, Gloucester
GL2 2AX

Hello Mr. Coles:

I deeply regret the situation in which we find ourselves, but I feel an obligation to keep you notified of the actions in progress against Hi Tech International, S.r.l. (HTI) as a result of their unlawful business practices. There is unanimous concern within the industry that in marketing counterfeit rescue vehicles with no track record - while fraudulently representing them as having the decades-long, tested history of Neoteric hovercraft - HTI is endangering the public rather than protecting it.

I have attached for you our communications with the Prime Minister, describing our concern that the HTI hovercraft recently purchased by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service may endanger the lives of your rescuers and that the Prime Minister's logo on HTI's web site implies endorsement of HTI products. As of today, HTI has apparently been ordered by the Prime Minister to remove the Downing Street logo from their web site, because it has suddenly disappeared, replaced by the British flag.

One reason for the concern about the safety of HTI hovercraft is that even after HTI’s offenses against Neoteric (including industrial/economic espionage, theft of trade secrets and intellectual property infringement) Matteo Passoni urgently attempted to solicit my assistance to solve the problems created when they counterfeited our patented hovercraft. One grave problem was exploding fans, resulting from HTI’s installation of a 145hp engine in a craft that is not designed to carry an engine of that power. A fan exploding from a 145hp engine is a life-threatening incident.

Also attached is the cover letter to a complaint filed with the Italian governmental agency Autoritá Garante Della Concorrenza e Del Mercado, which was accompanied by more than 100 pages documenting HTI's unlawful offenses. Previous complaints against HTI have been filed with this agency by other hovercraft manufacturers; for example, in December 2007, the agency fined HTI 19,600 Euro and ordered them to immediately remove plagiarized material from their web site.

I know you are aware of my dismay that Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue accepted the bid price from HTI even though that price, as reported by BBC News and by The Citizen was significantly higher than the bids submitted by reputable hovercraft manufacturers. That dismay is amplified by the fact that the Gloucestershire Echo reported in August 2007: “Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service wants to buy two hovercraft … It wants to buy the Italian-made Hi Tech International 425 hovercraft within six months.” This would indicate that the decision to purchase from HTI was made prior to the public tender.

As you know, the reputable manufacturers who submitted bids have existed for decades; for instance, my company was established nearly 40 years ago. In contrast, HTI only recently came into existence after Matteo Passoni became a Neoteric dealer in 2000 and began the process of industrial/economic espionage by violating his dealer agreement, splash molding our patented Hovertrek™, then in 2004 began to market this stolen product as their own.

In addition, HTI plagiarized the entire Neoteric Hovercraft web site, including our company history! We have succeeded in forcing HTI to remove much of the plagiarized material, but to this day some remains, including theft of Neoteric technical diagrams. As but one example, see http://hovercraft.it/lang_id_2/page_id_4/index.htm which was plagiarized from http://neoterichovercraft.com/specifications/4Rspecifications.htm. Note on these same pages that HTI has plagiarized text from Neoteric that falsely claims that HTI has 40 years of experience when, in fact, they have less than 3 years experience.

But, Mr. Coles, of far greater concern is the fact that not only do counterfeit rescue hovercraft damage the reputation of a vital industry, most importantly they are a threat to the lives of first responders and to the lives of those they are tasked to save.

With your permission, I will continue to update you on the various proceedings being instituted against HTI, including those filed with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Commerce. In the interest of public safety, I am compelled to urge you to review your decision to employ HTI rescue hovercraft and, if you at any time need further information or documentation, please know that I am wholly at your disposal.

Best Regards,

Chris Fitzgerald
Chris Fitzgerald
President/Chairman:
Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.
World Hovercraft Organization
DiscoverHover International School Hovercraft Program

1649 Tippecanoe Street • Terre Haute, Indiana, USA 47807-2394
TELEPHONE: 812-234-1120 • 800-285-3761 • FAX: 812-234-3217
EMAIL: hovermail@neoterichovercraft.com • WEB: neoterichovercraft.com • rescuehovercraft.com




cc: Terry Standing, Chief Fire Officer
Tally Giampa, Station Commander
Dave Hornibrook, Asst. Divisional Fire Officer

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