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Trade secrets dispute enters federal business litigation arena

Disputes over the alleged theft of trade secrets is a common form of controversy that is litigated in Oregon and throughout the nation. The typical trade secrets case often involves allegations by a company that one or more former employees took secrets with them and made money in some way or another by implementing those secrets. An example of business litigation regarding trade secrets was recently reported in the national press; it pertains to a federal case in another jurisdiction.

Huntington Bank filed a federal court action against three of its former employees and Home Savings Bank alleging that the three men took Huntington's trade secrets and confidential information and used it to lure new business and customers to Home Savings. The lawsuit alleges that the three bankers resigned from Huntington in September to take similar positions with Home Savings. The complaint alleges that the three took with them records of Huntington's commercial loan business operations, including data on the bank's business and commercial customers.

The complaint also alleges that the three defendants delayed existing work at Huntington so they could take those opportunities with them to develop through their new bank. The suit claims that Home Savings targeted Huntington's clients in advance and cultivated the three employees to go along with the conspiratorial effort. The complaint also alleges that the defendants told prospective clients that Huntington was no longer interested in developing that kind of business in the locality.

Some of the legal counts asserted by the plaintiff bank include violation of the federal Trade Secrets Act, contractual and fiduciary breaches of duty, interference with ongoing business relations, and defamatory activities. Recently, the presiding federal court trial judge announced that further proceedings were being held up pending an intensive push by the parties to work out a settlement agreement. That development is fairly common in state and federal business litigation cases in Oregon and elsewhere. It likely means that the parties are very close to an agreement and need only to resolve minor points of contention that remain.

Source: wfmj.com, "Huntington trade secrets suit against Home Savings on hold for n", Mike Gauntner, Oct. 25, 2017

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