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BrightPoint settles 2 suits against rival Brightstar

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Indianapolis-based BrightPoint Inc. has agreed to settle two lawsuits it brought against similarly named rival Brightstar Corp.

BrightPoint, which agreed on July 2 to be acquired by California-based Ingram Micro Inc. for about $840 million, filed the complaints against Miami-based Brightstar in December.

Both suits involved former Brightpoint executives hired by Brightstar who had access to the local firm’s innermost workings and strategies.

The lawsuits, filed in Marion Superior Court, were dismissed Wednesday. Lawyers for both sides declined to comment on the settlements, citing confidentiality agreements.

In one case, BrightPoint alleged that Miljan Milan, who served as general manager for Latin America before leaving the company in April 2011, flagrantly violated the non-compete provision of his employment agreement when he accepted a senior post with Brightstar.

BrightPoint sought an injunction against the company and Milan. The suit alleged breach of contract, breach of Indiana’s uniform trade secrets act, and tortious interference.

“Milan is in a position where the use of BrightPoint’s trade secrets will permit Milan and Brightstar to deploy an unfair competitive advantage in bidding for business against BrightPoint,” the suit alleged.

In the other suit, BrightPoint sued Brightstar over its hiring of Mitch Black, a former senior vice president in charge of BrightPoint’s North American distribution division.

Black had worked at BrightPoint for a dozen years when he left in November 2010 to become president of sales and purchasing at PCS Wireless Inc., a New Jersey firm BrightPoint did not consider a direct competitor. But less than a year later, he began discussions about returning to BrightPoint and also said he had “a very compelling offer” from another company he did not identify, according to the suit.

The BrightPoint discussions were just a ruse to extract additional confidential information Black could use against the company when he joined Brightstar, according to the suit.

In May, a Marion Superior Court judge dismissed a fraud charge against Black.

“BrightPoint is attempting to sustain a claim for fraud against Mr. Black, seeking excessive damages and fees, by attributing to Mr. Black a false statement contained in an unsigned document, which BrightPoint drafted,” lawyers for Brightstar said in their motion to dismiss.

The two firms are global heavyweights in the wireless phone industry. BrightPoint has 3,900 employees and posted 2011 revenue $5.2 billion, while Brightstar has 3,400 employees and had $5.7 billion in revenue last year.

Ingram’s acquisition of BrightPoint is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

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