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Brightpoint suing former exec in trade secret dispute

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Brightpoint Inc. is suing a former top executive for allegedly taking company trade secrets to a new job with a direct competitor.

The Indianapolis-based wireless distributor filed suit in Marion Superior Court on Monday against Mitch Black, who left Brightpoint last year and took a similar position with Brightstar Corp. in Miami earlier this month.

Brightpoint accuses Black of breaching both his employment contract and the state’s trade secrets act, in addition to committing fraud.

“Black will be performing services for Brightstar that are extremely similar — if not identical — to the services he performed for Brightpoint,” the company said in its complaint. “Moreover, at Brightstar, Black will be working with, and soliciting business from, many of the very same clients and suppliers that he was paid to develop relationships [with] on behalf of Brightpoint.”

In his 12 years at Brightpoint, Black rose through the managerial ranks to become senior vice president, a position that gave him responsibility for the company’s entire North American distribution division, according to the lawsuit.

Black also had daily access to Brightpoint’s confidential and proprietary business information and trade secrets, and he was integrally involved in the company’s strategic planning, Brightpoint charged.

Black resigned from Brightpoint in November 2010 to accept a job as president of sales and purchasing for New Jersey-based PCS Wireless Inc., a company that Brightpoint did not consider to be a direct competitor, the complaint said.

Less than a year later, Black and Brightpoint began discussing his return to the Indianapolis company. Ultimately, Black refused the offer and joined Brightstar instead.

Brightpoint alleges in its suit that its negotiations with Black will cause severe harm to the company.

“During the course of these discussions and trading on the trust, friendship and goodwill that he had built with Brightpoint over a 12-year period, Black cajoled additional trade secret and confidential information about Brightpoint’s business and strategic plans from unwitting Brightpoint executives,” the complaint said.

Brightpoint further alleges that Black admitted taking confidential information from Brightpoint, including the operating plan for an entire Brightpoint division, detailed spreadsheets containing sensitive financial and accounting data, and customer lists.

Brightpoint is asking the court to forbid Black from providing services for Brightstar that violate his employment agreements, and to prohibit Brightstar from using Brightpoint’s trade secrets to “unfairly” compete against the company.

Brightpoint also is seeking an undetermined amount in damages.

This story originally ran on IBJ.com Dec. 21, 2011.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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