Of all the lawsuits filed last year—and there have been many—perhaps the most interesting was Turbon International’s suit against Hewlett-Packard Company (HP). This suit offers some insight into the complex and changing relationship between OEMs and non-OEM supplies vendors. It underscores the fact that despite inherent frictions between OEMs and third-party supplies vendors, in today’s maturing market, they are often much closer than they let on. The case also illustrates the difficulties companies on each side of the divide can face when they try to reach across the chasm to form alliances.
According to Turbon’s allegations, detailed below, HP duped the hapless reman into divulging trade secrets. On March 8, Judge Victor Marrero issued a key ruling in the case when he granted HP’s motion to dismiss some of Turbon’s charges. Because other claims in Turbon’s complaint were not resolved, the ruling does not put an end to the lawsuit. Still, there is little doubt that it is a major victory for the HP camp.