GeoMetWatch Brings Legal Action against Utah State University And the University's Advanced Weather Systems Foundation Suit Alleges Breach of Contract and Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
LAS VEGAS, May 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- GeoMetWatch (GMW), a leading global weather data procurement and analysis company, today filed an action in The United States District Court, District of Utah, against Utah State University and its subsidiary corporation, Utah State University Advanced Weather Systems Foundation, alleging breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and violation of Section 43 of the Lanham Act.
Also named in the action is Alan E. Hall, Island Park Investments, a Utah Company, and Tempus Global Data, Inc., a Delaware Corporation.
The suit alleges the defendants – Utah State University and its subsidiary Foundation –induced GeoMetWatch to disclose extremely valuable business and technical trade secrets surrounding its efforts to develop an advanced, next generation satellite based weather sensing system, thus depriving GeoMetWatch of the unique business opportunity that it had created.
The action further alleges that the defendants breached contractual agreements limiting the use and disclosure of GMW's trade secrets, and made false and misleading representations about their own services and about GMW, in an effort to harm GMW and drive it out of business.
Commenting on the action, GMW's CEO, Edward A. Keible, Jr. said, "obviously we are deeply disappointed that our good faith efforts to build an enterprise in partnership with a respected institution such as Utah State has resulted in the need to protect our interests and those of our shareholders in this manner." Mr. Keible added, "one simply doesn't anticipate that a university would violate the trust of its business partners, which we believe the evidence supporting our assertions clearly demonstrates."
GMW seeks immediate preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to prevent permanent irreparable harm to GMW's investments and seeks damages for past and continuing harm caused by the defendants' conduct.
By way of background, the action details GeoMetWatch's efforts over a six year period to build a comprehensive business plan, financial model, customer lists and an extensive data base of highly sensitive trade and technical secrets that would be invaluable to a potential competitor. The action alleges that Utah State University, in collusion with Alan Hall, a local investor, conspired to not only steal GMW's intellectual property, but to pull the entire business out from under GMW.
Specifically, the action further alleges that the defendants obtained these trade secrets and proprietary information under false pretenses, thus causing irreparable harm to GMW's business and reputation and depriving GMW of a lucrative business opportunity that took GMW years to build.
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