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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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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