Thursday, October 04, 2007, 10/04/2007 12:32:00 PM

Scandanavian Airline Systems Convicted of Stealing Norwegian Air Shuttle's Trade Secrets

By Todd
If you speak with citizens of Scandanavian countries, they are sometimes struck by the litigious nature of Americans and the American civil legal system. Well, they sue each other too.

BusinessWeek is reporting that an appeals court on Tuesday convicted the Norwegian unit of the Scandinavian Airlines System of stealing trade secrets from a smaller rival in a reversal of a lower court's acquittal. The Borgarting appeals court found SAS Norway guilty of accessing confidential passenger and price information on computers used by Norwegian Air Shuttle, which operates under the name Norwegian, and ordered the larger airline to pay a fine of $740,000.

The case concerned an electronic booking system the airlines shared until the deal was canceled in 2002. Norway's economic crime police said SAS Norway continued to access the system to get information about their rival's pricing and routes until 2005. The appeals court found that SAS had used the system in an intentional effort to gain inside information. However, it cut the fine demanded by the prosecution in half, saying Norwegian had not taken steps to stop SAS's access to the system.

So - it seems the Scandanavians are concerned about unfair competition too - as they should be. Even if they usually live in a legal system that "just works," they have to keep tabs on those that want to capitalize on the business advantages of their rivals.

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