Lippert Components responded this week to additional claims recently filed against the company as part of its ongoing litigation with ASA Electronics. LCI executives deny the new claims, and plan to continue their defense.
ASA filed a suit against LCI in May 2018 alleging that a former ASA employee, Vince Smith, misappropriated trade secrets that lead to the development of Lippert’s “OneControl” system. The companies have been in legal proceedings for nearly two years, and ASA recently filed an amended complaint with the Elkhart Circuit Court.
The amended complaint, filed April 3, expands ASA’s suit to pursue claims of fraud and punitive damages. LCI has denied those claims and the claims included in the initial suit.
“ASA recently sought leave to amend its complaint to add purported additional claims,” LCI announced this week. “ASA has not alleged any ‘new’ claims, however, and instead has merely repackaged and recharacterized its original allegations.”
ASA’s initial suit claims Smith accessed trade secretes related to the company’s iN-Command Control system and then misappropriated those trade secrets as an Lippert employee. ASA argues Smith used those trade secrets while working on LCI’s OneControl System. LCI executives maintain that Smith played little to no role in developing that OneControl system, and that the company did not misappropriate any trade secrets.
“LCI’s OneControl system was fully developed years before Mr. Smith came to work for LCI in March 2018,” LCI announced. “LCI has been, and continues to be, an innovative leader in control systems for RVs. In fact, LCI filed a provisional patent application on its comprehensive system in September 2013 and debuted its control system in December 2014. A patent was issued in September 2016 and LCI showcased its OneControl product at the RVIA show in November 2016.”
Court documents show that Smith was a product manager at ASA Electronics from 2007 until March 2018. He began working at LCI in March 2018.
A court order issued in Oct. 2019 in favor of ASA’s initial suit prohibits Smith, who joined LCI in March 2018, from working on the company’s OneControl or any other similar RV systems.
“LCI and Mr. Smith have complied and intend to continue to comply with the Court’s order which does not materially impact LCI’s continuing development, improvement, production, sales or service of OneControl or any other RV control system,” the company said.
According to ASA, the two companies met recently in mediation but did not reach a final agreement.
LCI announced that it “stands behind its proven track record of successful innovation and product development and will vigorously defend against ASA’s allegations and all similarly meritless claims.”
Read more about ASA Electronics’ recently amended suit here.