Court Dismisses Vertical Bridge Lawsuit Against Everest

The U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania last week dismissed the lawsuit by Vertical Bridge REIT LLC and several subsidiaries (VB Plaintiffs) against Everest Infrastructure Partners Inc. concerning misappropriation of trade secrets and false advertising “without prejudice,” meaning the plaintiff is free to refile the claim in a different court.

In June 2023, Vertical Bridge sued Everest, claiming it had an “improper, multi-state, and multi-million dollar scheme to unlawfully improve its market share at Vertical Bridge’s expense through trade secret misappropriation, false advertising, tortious interference with contract, and unfair competition,” according to the complaint by VB Plaintiffs. The proceeding was later expanded to include 29 Vertical Bridge wholly owned subsidiaries.  

Everest argued that the VB Plaintiffs had failed to prove the existence of trade secrets, in terms of pricing and related information, which they were not prohibited from sharing. Everest also argued that the VB Plaintiffs’ claims of false advertising do not fall under the Lanham Act because the Lanham Act concerns goods and services, not the acquisition of real property. Enacted in 1946, the Act prohibits a number of activities, including trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false advertising.

In a Memorandum Opinion obtained by Inside Towers, the court ruled that the VB Plaintiffs’ allegations are “inadequate” concerning their pleadings of false statements or advertising as prohibited under the Lanham Act.

On the other hand, allegations that VB Plaintiffs’ trade secrets had been misappropriated by Everest were found to be vague as to what information was in question. “Without greater detail, the court is unable to determine—with sufficient precision—what information the VB Plaintiffs have sought to protect,” the court wrote.

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

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