ASA Electronics gains preliminary injunction against Lippert

A circuit court judge in Elkhart, Ind., ruled that a former ASA employee “violated non-disclosure agreements” concerning ASA trade secrets after he went to work for Lippert.
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A circuit court judge in Elkhart, Ind., issued a preliminary injunction in favor of ASA Electronics against Lippert Components Inc. On Oct. 30, Judge Michael A. Christofeno granted ASA Electronics’ motion for a preliminary injunction in the case of ASA Electronics LLC v. Vincent Smith, Rick Carver, Lippert Components Inc.

The court order outlines the case, which ASA filed against Lippert in May 2018, alleging that a former ASA employee, Vincent Smith, who went to work for Lippert in March 2018, used confidential information from ASA about its iN-Command product line to help develop the OneControl product line for Lippert’s Innovation Designs Solutions electronics division.

The order prevents Smith from working on OneControl, with the judge noting that Smith “misappropriated” ASA trade secrets. “Smith admitted that he took the first-generation iN-Command project file Feb. 26, 2018. Furthermore, Smith testified that it was a mistake for him to take the file, which confirms that he acquired the trade secret by improper means.”

The judge wrote that “ASA is likely to succeed on the merits of its trade-secret claim against Smith and on its clams that Smith violated the non-disclosure covenants” of his employment agreement with ASA.

The order also prohibits another former ASA employee, Rick Carver, who also moved to Lippert, from using his former business contacts for at least a year to gain sales in his new position at Lippert. “The court concludes that ASA is likely to succeed on the merits of its claim that Carver breached the non-solicitation covenants contained in the Carver Agreement,” wrote the court.

Lippert CEO Jason Lippert said in a statement that the court order regarding ASA’s confidential information “is consistent with what LCI voluntarily offered to do from the very beginning of this matter.” He added that LCI is “proud of its successful track record of innovation achieved fairly and without using other companies’ confidential information.”

“It is unfortunate that companies must resort to the courts in order to protect their trade secrets and other sensitive business information,” said ASA Electronics CEO Tom Irions through his attorneys. “But it is also reassuring to know that when companies like ASA Electronics are forced to go to court, our local courts will not tolerate the misappropriation of such information. This preliminary injunction is not only a win for ASA, but for all local businesses who find themselves victimized by those who take the valuable trade secrets of others.”

“Lippert Components takes seriously its obligation to respect the confidentiality of other companies’ information,” added Lippert. “Our policy is to instruct new team members not to take any of their prior employers’ confidential information or to disclose or use any such information in their work for LCI.” 

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