Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Hewlett-Packard and Turbon to Settle Toner Cartridge Trade Secret Lawsuit

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Turbon AG have agreed to settle a trade secrets lawsuit that accused the former of stealing trade secrets for toner cartridges. The lawsuit was filed by Turbon in June 2010, and accuses Hewlett-Packard of getting Turbon to disclose important details about its business, under the promise of a contract. Turbon filed a lawsuit seeking to bar Hewlett-Packard from using Turbon’s trade secrets for remanufacturing toner cartridges.

Last week, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Turbon announced that they have reached a settlement.

There were more legal developments involving Hewlett-Packard last week. The company sued its former ally, Oracle Corp. over a dispute involving the Intel Itanium microprocessor chip. Oracle Corp. announced that new versions of Oracle’s software would no longer support the Itanium chip, the microprocessor used by many of HP’s high-end servers. HP argues that dropping support for the microprocessor violates promises of continuing support for customers and is part of a plan by Oracle to force Oracle customers to use Sun servers instead of those manufactured by Hewlett-Packard.

Hewlett-Packard and Oracle, one-time allies with close to 140,000 common customers, have clashed several times over the past few years. First, the two clashed over former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Mark Hurd. Hurd was forced to leave soon after reports of an improper relationship with an office worker. He was quickly snapped up by Oracle, which hired him soon after. Hewlett-Packard filed a trade secrets lawsuit against Hurd after he was hired by Oracle. The companies managed to settle that lawsuit.

Then, Hewlett-Packard hired former SAP AG chief executive Leo Apotheker. While he had been employed at SAP AG, he had been engaged in a sometimes vicious copyright infringement clash with Oracle. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison charged Apotheker with a grand scheme of industrial espionage at SAP, focused exclusively on acquiring Oracle's trade secrets. Hewlett-Packard sprung to its new employee’s defense, assuring Los Angeles business dispute lawyers of a continuing battle between HP and Oracle.