Legal Dispute between Bay Area Startup and Bike Giant Specialized Ends in Mixed Verdict

On 29.01.12, In Legal Industry, by Blake Houser



A sour legal dispute between a giant in the bicycle industry and a tiny rival startup ended Friday just like a taxing bike race with both riders declaring that they had won the race.

A jury in a Santa Clara County Superior Court handed down a mixed verdict in a lawsuit that was filed by Specialized Bicycle Components, one of the largest bike manufacturers in the world, against two former workers it charged to have created a rival bike company with stolen design secrets.

The jury, after a trial that lasted for two weeks, found that Robert Choi, a former employee of Specialized, violated his contract obligations with his former employers because he started to draw plans for his own company while still working at Specialized.

However, the jury awarded just $1 in damages to Specialized, setting off claims from both parties that they had won the bigger legal battle.

The jury, at the same time, concluded that Barley Forsman, the partner of Choi and also a former employee of Specialized, did not commit any wrongdoing.

The outcome for now ended a legal battle over allegations that Forsman and Choi stole designs from Specialized to start their company, Volagi, before resigning from Specialized last year.

Despite rival claims about who won or lost the case, the outcome allows Volagi to continue selling its high-end “Liscio” bike, which their former employers have insisted is copied from its array of signature racing bikes.

Blake Houser

Client Relations Manager at The Wells & Drew Companies
About the author:
Blake Houser is Client Relations Manager at Wells & Drew. In addition, he is the third generation in this family-owned speciality printing business.

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