Hilton Accused of Stealing Trade Secrets From Rival Hotel
A motion filed in Los Angeles Superior Court names Hilton Worldwide Holdings in a lawsuit alleging theft of proprietary documents. The motion has Hilton accused of stealing trade secrets from rival hotes for its Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills luxury hotel. The Peninsula Beverly Hills says that Hilton conspired with former Peninsula manager Houssem Tasco to steal thousands of documents. Those documents included guest lists, financials, and marketing plans.
More specifically, the complaint accuses Hilton of corporate espionage, trade secret theft, and unfair competition. Hilton was also accused of trying to hide the scheme. For its part, Hilton has announced that it will defend itself in the case. The company accused the plaintiff of misrepresenting Hilton’s actions and intent, and expressed confidence in the outcome.
Hilton is just one of several defendants in the alleged conspiracy to steal Peninsula’s trade secrets. The defendants have accused Peninsula of trying to stifle competition. They suggested that Peninsula should spend money on improving its hotel instead of suing competitors.
The lawsuit dates back to 2017. It accuses Hilton of soliciting and obtaining proprietary information from Tasco, who was then a guest services manager at Peninsula. In exchange for his assistance, the suit alleges, Hilton promised Tasco employment at the Waldorf. Tasco was ultimately hired at the Waldorf, which is in close proximity to Peninsula.
In 2018, Peninsula asked for a court order to prevent Tasco from working at the Waldorf. The judge rejected the request, ruling that there was no evidence of a “formal database” of trade secrets.
The alleged theft of trade secrets took place over 14 months. Peninsula claims that during this time, Hilton used Tasco to “pillage” everything they could from Peninsula. This enabled Hilton to open the Waldorf hotel using Peninsula’s trade secrets. Once the hotel was opened, Tasco used the information stolen from Peninsula to lure clients away from the hotel.
Peninsula claims to have evidence that Tasco met with other defendants who then met with high-level Hilton executives. After discovering the theft of information in 2017, the suit alleges, Hilton was confronted with it. But Hilton’s general counsel claimed that an internal review uncovered no trace of Peninsula trade secrets.
Hilton has previously been accused of stealing proprietary information from competitors. In 2010, the company allegedly stole confidential information from Starwood’s W Hotel. As part of a settlement, Hilton agreed not to launch its own brand similar to Starwood for two years.
Trade secrets are an important part of intellectual property. They include proprietary designs, practices, processes, instruments, patterns, and formulas. Because this information is not readily available to the public, it gives companies a competitive advantage. And that forms the basis of a trade secret’s economic value. The owners of trade secrets generally take steps to protect this information. When breached, trade secrets can enable a competitor to unfairly profit off the owner’s hard work.
The Hilton case is an example of how confidential information (such as guest lists and marketing plans) helps companies thrive. If you’re the owner of trade secrets, you deserve to have them protected. If they are stolen, it could spell financial ruin for your company.
We Fight to Protect Our Clients’ Intellectual Property
If another company or individual has misappropriated your trade secrets or other intellectual property, it’s important to take action. That’s where Eddington & Worley comes in. We know the hard work you’ve put into your company. And we understand what intellectual property theft can do to your bottom line.
Don’t let yourself be a victim. The longer that trade secrets are misused, the more compromised your financial well-being becomes. Give us a call today to discuss your case and schedule a consultation.