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Hilton to settle out of court with Starwood in Denizen row?

05 June 2009 by
Hilton to settle out of court with Starwood in Denizen row?

Hilton Hotels is rumoured to be looking at settling out of court in its corporate espionage case with Starwood, rather than entering into a legal battle.

American hotel group Starwood, which operates lifestyle brand W, alleges that two of its former executives, Ross Klein and Amar Lalvani, stole large amounts of proprietary and highly confidential Starwood information to spearhead Hilton's launch of its Denizen brand.

Hilton responded by putting Klein, Lalvani and its entire luxury and lifestyle team on paid administrative leave of absence and suspended all further development of the Denizen Hotels brand.

The lawsuit alleges theft of trade secrets, computer fraud and unfair competition, that amounted to "the clearest imaginable case of corporate espionage, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition and computer fraud."

As yet Hilton hasn't opened any Denizen Hotels, but it was pursuing contracts and development deals and planned to open the first in 2010, with talks were under way for hotels in cities including Abu Dhabi, Buenos Aires, Jerusalem, London, Miami, Mumbai and New York.

Hilton directors stole more than 100,000 computer files, says Starwood - For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say >>

Starwood accuses Hilton of theft of trade secrets >>

Denizen brand marks Hilton move into boutique hotels >>

Hilton to launch new boutique brand in the UK >>

By Gemma Sharkey

E-mail your comments to Gemma Sharkey here.

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