The long running corporate espionage case between rivals Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts has ended with the announcement that a settlement was reached between the two parties just before Christmas.
Starwood had alleged that Hilton misused trade secrets obtained by former employees of Starwood, Ross Klein and Amar Lalvani, who had been in charge of developing the W brand before joining Hilton. It was suggested that the information was used to help create a new lifestyle brand for Hilton called Denizen, which has since been cancelled.
Under the terms of the settlement, Hilton Worldwide consents to an injunction that includes certain business restrictions for a period of two years. Additional terms of the settlement are confidential.
"Given the facts, we had no choice but to stand up and protect our brands on behalf of our investors, associates, owners and customers," said Frits van Paasschen, Starwood's president and chief executive. "This settlement reinforces this protection and restores a level playing field for fair competition."
Meanwhile, Christopher Nassetta, president and chief executive officer of Hilton Worldwide said that he "regrets" the circumstances surrounding the dispute between the two companies and is pleased to bring the prolonged litigation to an end.
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