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Tennessee businesses reach settlement in business dispute

Business relationships in Tennessee must be based on honesty and trust in order to be successful. Sometimes two businesses can work together towards a common goal that will ultimately benefit both of them. However, these deals can sour if one business claims that the other business unlawfully misappropriated trade secrets, committed unfair competition or committed defamation.

A lawsuit between the Tennessee-based companies Contractors & Industrial Supply Company Inc. (CIS) and Columbia Machine Works Inc. (CMW) has been settled. CIS had filed the suit, claiming that in May 2014, CMW engaged in the misappropriation of trade secrets obtained when CIS hired CMW in 1997 and that CMW also engaged in unfair competition when it made and sold products designed by CIS without CIS's authorization. The products at issue in this case is a line of graphite electrode lifting and handling products.

After being served with the lawsuit, CMW filed a counterclaim. CMW accused CIS of defamation and that CIS also engaged in unfair competition when it reportedly made false claims to the steel industry regarding CMW's products.

While both CIS and CMW still disagree with the claims they are accusing one another of, they were able to resolve the lawsuit out-of-court, and they will still both be able to market and sell products like the ones at issue. CMW's President and CEO stated that they were "happy" that the dispute had ended and wished CIS all the best in the future. The President of CIS stated that they have always aimed to follow the "Golden Rule of Business," to treat others as they would want to be treated.

Business and commercial litigation can be a costly endeavor both in time and money, two things that are very important to the successful running of a business. Therefore, oftentimes when a business dispute arises, being able to settle the matter out-of-court can be beneficial for both parties. However, should the case need to move forward to trial, it is important that each party build a solid argument in their favor, so that their rights are protected.

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