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  • Writer's pictureMarine X

Benchmade Sues Montana Knife Company in Alleged Conspiracy

A Legal Spat Heats Up in the Knife Community

The world of high-end knives is seeing a heated legal battle erupt between two major players: Benchmade Knife Company and Montana Knife Company. This lawsuit, filed in March 2024, has sparked discussions and debates within the online knife community.

Knife manufacturer Benchmade Knife Company, Inc. (Benchmade) has filed a lawsuit against Montana Knife Company, Inc. (MKC) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. The case, filed in March 15, 2024, was subsequently terminated April 8, 2024 by voluntary dismissal by Benchmade.

  • Allegation: Benchmade claims a former employee, Alex Brown, Director of Manufacturing Innovation, had a confidentiality agreement in the form of a non-compete, that restricted them from sharing confidential information with a new employer and working for any company within the same industry for a minimum of two years.

  • Accusation: Benchmade accuses Montana Knife Company of conspiring with this employee to breach that agreement and engaged in "intentional interference with economic relations."

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Points to Consider

  • Benchmade sues Montana knife company, filed March 15, 2024 and was abruptly dismissed by Benchmade on April 8, 2024.

  • MKC denies the accusations and says they didn't poach the employee or engage in any conspiracy.

  • There are questions about whether Benchmade attempted to resolve the issue before suing.

  • May 3, 2024 - MKC has filed a motion for sanctions against Benchmade for filing the original lawsuit.

  • The former employee has not been sued by Benchmade

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A Case Still Unfolding

Benchmade has a history of protecting its intellectual property. In 2017 and 2023, they successfully sued another company for patent infringement. Their stance is clear: they will fight to defend their designs and confidential information.

Montana Knife Company vehemently denies the accusations. They claim they did nothing improper in hiring the employee. They assert that Benchmade never attempted to contact them to discuss the situation before resorting to legal action.

The motion for sanctions has been fully briefed as of May 31, 2024 and awaiting a decision from U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon, whether an evidentiary hearing while occur. The court may make a decision on sanctions without oral arguments or require further information from both sides.

The outcome of this case could have significant implications for the knife industry, particularly regarding employee mobility, industry non-competes, and protection of trade secrets. Overall, this is an ongoing legal battle between the two knife companies. More information will likely emerge as the case progresses.

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