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Top 20 Stories of 2019: #13 GE Files Lawsuit Against Uptake

Top 20 Stories of 2019: #13 GE Files Lawsuit Against Uptake

EVERY WEEKDAY FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR, TED MAGAZINE IS COUNTING DOWN THE TOP 20 STORIES OF 2019. BELOW, THE #13 MOST-VIEWED STORY OF THE YEAR, ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MARCH 11, 2019.

 


 

An ongoing legal battle between General Electric and Chicago-based technology company Uptake has taken another turn, with GE filing a lawsuit accusing three former employees of stealing trade secrets and using them while working for Uptake.

The legal battle started in 2018, when Uptake, a technology-based company that analyzes data, bought a software company that GE uses. Uptake claimed in its lawsuit that GE was misusing trade secrets and breached its contract. GE responded in December of last year with a lawsuit of its own, claiming Uptake launched a “ruthless scheme to poach” GE employees and trade secrets.

The latest lawsuit, filed on March 6, specifically names three former GE employees who are now working for Uptake. The suit says former GE executives Dalero Berkeley, Eric Bush, and Praveen Uppaluri, who worked for GE Power and are described in the March 6th lawsuit as C-suite employees at GE, were responsible for creating GE Power’s “cutting edge software solutions for gas turbine customers.”  The suit goes on to say, “Their technical know-how will allow Uptake to attempt to create identical or highly similar solutions, and directly compete with GE in this area.”

The GE lawsuit makes strong accusations against Uptake, claiming it would, “improperly solicit and induce GE employees to breach their contracts, their fiduciary duties, and misappropriate GE’s confidential and trade secret information, all in an attempt to improperly compete in the multi-billion dollar ‘industrial internet of things’ (IIOT) market.” It goes on to say that Berkeley, Bush, and Uppaluri violated their contractual and statutory obligations to GE after leaving the company. The lawsuit goes on to claim, “Uptake apparently either recognized that its fledgling business strategy was failing, or possibly came under pressure from its investors. Starting in and around that time, and continuing over the past 18 months, Uptake repeatedly and unsuccessfully approached GE seeking to enter into some form of a business transaction with GE Digital, attempting to gain access to GE Digital’s intellectual property, clients, and employees.”  When it realized no deal could be made, GE claims, “Uptake began a scheme to poach GE’s executives and obtain GE’s confidential and trade secret information illegitimately.” On November 28, 2018, a number of employees, including Bush and Uppaluri, handed in their resignations at GE Power to join Uptake.

GE’s lawsuit also claims just two weeks after the employees left, Uptake approached it about entering into an agreement to work together on their technology programs.  That is when GE filed its first lawsuit alleging Uptake’s effort to steal trade secrets.

The case was filed in federal court in Georgia, which is the last known address for Berkeley, Bush, and Uppaluri.

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