State of Play. Starwood Sues Hilton.

Beach_ResortsBehind the calm, oasis like environments and splendorous guest services of the luxury hotel industry lies an intensely competitive business.  The global downturn in the economy and anti-travel sentiments expressed by Congress have already driven down room rates and revenues for hotel companies.  And it’s about to get a bit uglier.  Starwood Hotels and Resorts lawsuit against rival Hilton Hotel Corporation for allegedly using stolen Starwood documents makes that abundantly clear.  Starwood claims two former executives Ross Klein and Amar Laivani for its luxury brand group which includes the “W” hotel concept off-loaded over 100,000 confidential competitive documents via e-mail and in direct shipments to their homes and to Hilton Corporation prior to their move to new posts at Hilton Corporation last year.   On March 10th, Hilton announced the launch of its newest luxury brand concept Denizen Hotels a likely competitor to “W” Hotels and other high end concept hotel brands.  In their complaint, Starwood is seeking the destruction of all documents, information and materials related to the roll-out of  of the Denizen hotel brand.  Some have suggested should Starwood’s desired remedy be granted, it would severely damage the Denizen brand at best or cause Hilton to abandon it altogether in the worst case scenario.  Now where were we?  Oh, right—talking about protecting your organization’s intellectual property and those critical cyber assets.

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