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Trade Secrets

December 24, 2010 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
A legal battle between hotel chains Hilton Worldwide and rival Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which included allegations of corporate espionage and stolen trade secrets, has ended in a settlement that cost Hilton some bruising concessions. Hilton, which was accused of pilfering proprietary information about Starwood's successful W hotels in order to build its own luxury boutique chain, has agreed to stay out of that market segment until January 2013. Hilton also agreed to let an outside monitor make sure it returns any stolen files and other documents to Starwood.
December 9, 2010 | By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times
Goldman Sachs, the most powerful firm on Wall Street, makes an unlikely victim. That, however, is the role that the bank has played over the last two weeks in a Manhattan courtroom, where prosecutors have argued that Sergei Aleynikov, a skinny, bespectacled former computer programmer at Goldman, stole valuable computer code from the bank before moving to a start-up firm that was trying to build its own trading operations. Although the code in question was a mere 32 megabytes ?
September 21, 2010 | By David Sarno
Hewlett-Packard Co. agreed Monday to end a lawsuit aimed at preventing its recently ousted chief executive, Mark V. Hurd, from going to work for rival Oracle Corp. Under the settlement, Hurd agreed not to disclose HP's trade secrets to his new employer and waived his rights to nearly 345,000 special stock units he was entitled to as part of his severance package. If sold today, they would be worth close to $14 million. In addition to the stock units he gave up, Hurd's severance package included more than $12 million in cash and 775,000 stock options that vested on the day of his resignation, worth tens of millions more.
July 9, 2010 | Meg James
A Los Angeles County judge on Thursday referred to arbitration the case of a Canadian engineer who contends that NBC Universal stole his idea and business strategy to launch Hulu, the website that shows TV programs and movies. Errol Hula, founder of technology company Hulavision, sued media giant NBC Universal and the Hulu joint venture four months ago, saying Hula shared trade secrets and a business plan with an NBC executive in 2006. The following year, NBC Universal announced plans to team up with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
June 6, 2010 | By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times
When Ross Klein arrived at Hilton Worldwide's Beverly Hills headquarters to create a new luxury chain, he was the "it" guy in the hottest segment of the lodging business. A former retail marketing whiz, Klein had trained his fashion sense on the buttoned-down hotel industry, helping turn the W chain into a hip money-maker for its parent, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. Hilton lacked a product to compete. So it lured Klein away from Starwood in 2008 by offering him a chance to build a brand from scratch.
August 13, 2009 | Associated Press
China formally arrested four employees of mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd. for infringing trade secrets and bribery, but stopped short of laying politically explosive espionage charges in a case that has strained ties with key trading partner Australia. Investigations showed the four, including Stern Hu, an Australian citizen who headed Rio Tinto's iron ore business in China, obtained commercial secrets about China's steel and iron industries through "improper means" and were involved in bribery, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.
September 9, 2008 | From Bloomberg News
Motorola Inc., the world's third-largest maker of mobile phones, claimed in a lawsuit that BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. was stealing its workers in violation of an agreement between the two rivals. Since February, Research in Motion has targeted at least 40 Motorola employees who can't work at the new company without revealing trade secrets, Motorola said in a lawsuit filed Sept. 4 in state court in Illinois' Cook County. Motorola, based in Schaumburg, Ill., asked a judge to bar Research in Motion from using Motorola's confidential information and from soliciting or hiring any Motorola employees.
July 19, 2008 | From Bloomberg News
Mobile-phone maker Motorola Inc. sued a former executive now working for Apple Inc., accusing him of disclosing its trade secrets to aid in the marketing of Apple's iPhone. Michael Fenger left Motorola in March as vice president for the company's mobile-device business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He is now Apple's vice president for global iPhone sales, according to a complaint. "He was privy to the pricing, margins, customer initiatives . . .
October 18, 2007 | Paul Pringle, Times Staff Writer
If the state and federal governments get their way, night-flying planes will soon resume dousing the Monterey Peninsula with a moth-targeting pesticide, before they move on to other areas of Northern California. State regulators insist the chemical compound is safe. But they also insist they can't disclose much of what's in it. "Trade secrets," said Steve Lyle, spokesman for the state Department of Food and Agriculture.
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