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Aon granted partial injunction in US trade secrets suit

A federal district court in Chicago has agreed to grant Aon a partial injunction in litigation it filed last year that accuses five former employees who joined a rival firm with trade secrets misappropriation, among other charges.

The former employees who had worked in Aon’s equity services division, joined San Francisco-based Infinite Equity, a professional services company, in June 2019.

As first reported in our sister publication Business Insurance, a magistrate judge for the US District Court in Chicago granted Aon’s motion for preliminary injunction over the broker’s misappropriation of trade secrets claims relating to its valuation models and confidential client information recognised as trade secrets, but denied its motion as to the remainder of Aon’s claims.

On the valuation models, the ruling said the evidence “demonstrates a strong showing that the valuation models are trade secrets, and defendants’ arguments to the contrary are unconvincing”.

Aon “has shown a reasonable likelihood of success in demonstrating” Aon’s valuation models were acquired by “improper means,” the ruling said.

The ruling said also that the “Defendants’ use of Aon’s confidential client information on numerous occasions to target or convert Aon clients for Infinite leads the court to conclude (1) Aon has shown that it is likely to succeed on its claims that defendants misappropriated its trade secret client information and (2) there is a threat of inevitable use or disclosure of further Aon trade secret client information without preventative action”.

The highly detailed opinion ruled against Aon on other issues. On its breach of fiduciary duty claim, for instance, the ruling states: “Because Aon has not shown that defendants began actually competing with Aon while still employed, Aon has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits with respect to this aspect of its breach of fiduciary claims.”

Litigation filed by Infinite Equity against Aon in the California state court in San Francisco in February 2020, on charges including unfair and fraudulent business acts and practices, is ongoing.

Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.

For further news from Business Insurance, please click here.



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