Thursday, April 09, 2009, 4/09/2009 01:20:00 PM

Reid Elsevier Sues Hank Asher for Alleged Trade Secret Theft and Noncompete Breach

By Todd

Reed Elsevier, the Massachusetts-based parent of LexisNexis and Seisint, on Thursday filed a complaint in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, alleging that Asher is violating his non-compete agreement by starting a new company, TLFO, in Boca Raton.

In 2004, Asher sold Seisint, his second major database company, to LexisNexis for several hundred million dollars. The deal included a non-compete agreement that is in effect until August.

But, Faith Gay, an attorney for Reed Elsevier, said Asher started violating his five-year non-compete agreement “approximately” two years early. While Asher has said publicly that TLFO is doing only charitable work to help in the hunt for child predators until his non-compete expires, the suit alleges that Asher is already angling for market share.

“He is out, trying to sell a commercial product,” Gay said. “We’re seeking damages for any harm that Asher has caused to our customer base. And, we are seeking a pro rata refund of the $775 million paid for Seisint based upon the length of time Asher has violated his noncompete.”

The suit also alleges that Asher has hired former Seisint employees and is using Seisint’s trade secrets in his new venture.

“This misappropriation of trade secrets is part of defendants’ plan to steal Seisint’s clients by offering them products or services extremely similar to those already developed by Seisint,” the complaint alleges.

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