SALT LAKE CITY (Feb. 3, 2017) – A Utah jury vindicated Hydro Engineering, Inc. (Hydro) in its four-year battle against a competitor that stole its technology after luring away a key salesperson. After an 11-day trial, the eight person jury delivered a unanimous verdict of $5.175 million for trade secret misappropriation and $574,000 for interference with a non-compete agreement.
Hydro is an innovative designer and manufacturer of wash racks and wash systems for fixed and rotary wing aircraft and all types of ground support equipment, which Hydro sells primarily to the U.S. Army and other Allied forces countries. Riveer Environmental (Riveer) is Hydro’s competitor. Riveer has a proven track record of unfair competition: Hydro successfully obtained judgments and a permanent injunction against Riveer for patent infringement first in 2009 and again in 2012.
In 2009, Riveer lured away a key Hydro salesperson with eight years of government contracting experience while of working at Hydro, knowing he had a non-compete and confidentiality agreement with Hydro. Riveer syphoned Hydro’s proprietary technology, pricing methodology, and confidential information through Hydro’s former employee – including a new product idea – to win large military contracts that would have gone to Hydro. Emails produced at trial demonstrated that Riveer knew its actions were risky, but it forged ahead hoping the future profit would justify its questionable conduct. With its verdict, the jury sent a clear message that unfair business behavior will not be rewarded.