Starwood and Hilton Talk Settlement in Trade Secrets Case; Hilton Criminal Probe Continues

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By Andrew Longstreth
November 30, 2009
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Months after Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide obtained an injunction in its Grishamesque trade secrets case against Hilton Hotels, the two sides have been talking settlement. As first reported by Hospitality Design, Starwood’s attorney, Charles Gilman of Cahill Gordon & Reindel, wrote a letter to the court indicating that “the parties have been exploring the possibility of a settlement.”

Starwood had alleged that Hilton and two of its executives stole confidential information from Starwood’s files to develop Hilton’s new Denizen hotels, which was to compete with Starwood’s W Hotels. The complaint claimed that Hilton’s tactics amounted to the “clearest imaginable case of corporate espionage, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition, and computer fraud.”

Aaron Marks of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, who represents Hilton, declined to comment to the Litigation Daily on the settlement talks. So did Cahill’s Gilman. But it’s important to note that even if Hilton resolves the civil case with Starwood, a criminal probe of Hilton is continuing. Last month The Wall Street Journal reported that a grand jury was considering whether Hilton and several of its former executives should face charges for the trade secrets theft.

Read the rest of the story here.

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