Corporate Espionage,0370INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Johnson & Johnson and Boehringer Mannheim Corp., bitter rivals in the business of making blood-sugar monitors, said Friday they have settled their corporate spying lawsuits against each other.
Much like the product development ideas the two companies tried to keep from each other, terms of the out-of-court settlement were being kept secret.
If any money were to change hands as a result of the settlement, it apparently is only a small amount that would not need to be disclosed to shareholders. ``We are not planning to make any further reports about this matter,'' J&J; spokesman Jeffrey Leebaw said by telephone from New Brunswick, N.J., where his company is based.
Steven Oldham, a spokesman for privately held Boehringer, refused to comment.
Boehringer sued J&J; in June, alleging employees of its Lifescan Inc. subsidiary spied on Boehringer for 18 months ending in March 1994 and had stolen a prototype of a blood sugar monitor in Europe as well as confidential documents. The monitors are used by diabetics to determine whether they need to take medicine.
Boehringer filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, the company's headquarters city.
The suit said that the culture of spying was so ingrained at California-based Lifescan that executives handed out ``Inspector Clouseau'' and ``Columbo'' awards to workers who got the best information.
Lifescan countersued in September. It accusing Boehringer of hiring detectives to obtain secrets and having workers pose as potential customers to get information on Lifescan's blood-sugar monitors. It said Boehringer formed a ``Lifescan Competitive Kill Team'' that hired private detectives to obtain secrets.
Lifescan conceded it had given out the awards in question and that an employee, Nourredine Akli, had obtained confidential documents about Boehringer's Accu-Chek Easy glucose meter.
Boehringer admitted some of Lifescan's counterclaims, but said Lifescan has confused legal and illegal intelligence gathering.
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