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L.A.-Based Startup Sues WPP’s IconMobile

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Here’s a bit of legal news to kick off another terribly cold day. In case you didn’t hear, an L.A.-based interactive agency/mobile product startup dubbed Mach18 Design is suing WPP-owned IconMobile. Why? Well the lawsuit, which is being brought on by Dykema Gossett, LLP, alleges that Mach18 initially approached IconMobile as a potential vendor and development partner in late 2012/early 2013 in regards to the former’s development of a technology platform intended to “drive the future of global in-car experience” dubbed ARIVE. Before discussions could begin, though, Mach18 first required IconMobile to execute a nondisclosure and non-circumvention agreement.

While the NDA was executed, the lawsuit alleges that IconMobile eventually ignored its contractual confidentiality and non-circumvention obligations to Mach18. How so? Well, according to the plaintiff, Mach18 soon found its calls going unanswered, and “subsequently learned that IconMobile had begun working on a copycat pitch to several of Mach18’s actual and potential business partners shortly after reviewing Mach18’s”proprietary presentation.” To make matters, according to the lawsuit, IconMobile allegedly “dissuaded other consultants and advisors from doing business with Mach18 in an attempt to disrupt Mach 18’s business opportunities.”

We’ll keep you posted if we hear more, but here’s a statement from Mach18′s lead counsel/Dykema partner Christopher Kit Winter: “Mach18’s experience is what every innovator fears. A potential partner’s confidentiality obligations must be sacrosanct, especially when the disclosing party is a startup. The fact that IconMobile is Goliath to Mach18’s David should not mean that IconMobile can ignore its obligations with impunity. Mach18 is prepared to act vigorously to protect its intellectual property and to enforce its contractual rights.” Does Mach18 have a case? You make the call. But anyways, we’ve put in a call to IconMobile, which has yet to respond to the filing as well according to the L.A. startup.

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