Starwood Settles Lawsuit Against Hilton

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has announced the settlement of its lawsuit against Hilton Worldwide alleging the misappropriation of Starwood trade secrets and confidential and proprietary information.

“Starwood is proud of its leadership position in creating lifestyle brands that connect with consumers, drive loyalty and are highly profitable for our owners," said Frits van Paasschen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Starwood. "Given the facts, we had no choice but to stand up and protect our brands on behalf of our investors, associates, owners and customers. This settlement reinforces this protection and restores a level playing field for fair competition.”

Rueters reporter Deena Beasley wrote about the suit, explaining that Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc sued rival Hilton Hotels and two of its top executives for corporate espionage, accusing the pair of ex-Starwood workers of stealing trade secrets to speed Hilton's entry into the "lifestyle" market.

Both executives had been closely involved in Starwood's W Hotels brand. Starwood sought monetary damages and a court order that would stop Hilton's new Denizen "lifestyle" brand projects. "This was a blatant case of theft of trade secrets, computer fraud and unfair competition," Starwood's general counsel, Kenneth Siegel, said in a statement.

In its complaint, Starwood said the two executives were "aided and abetted by Hilton" and "stole massive amounts of proprietary and highly confidential Starwood information which was used to expedite Hilton's entry into the lifestyle hotel market, reposition its luxury brands and substantially reduce its costs and risks of doing so."

The settlement requires Hilton to be subject to an injunction to be supervised by monitors appointed by the federal district court to assure that the conduct that occurred does not occur again. Additional terms of the settlement are confidential.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is the 8th leading hotel and leisure company in the world, with 1025 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties.

Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.
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