A jury in Santa Clara County, California has begun deliberations in the legal battle between Specialized and two of its former employees, according to Silicon Valley website Mercury News.
A decision in the case is expected imminently, with the jury having to decide whether Volagi’s Robert Choi and Barley Forsman created Volagi while still employed by the company.
The pair, who both worked in the equipment rather than bike design part of the business, deny the claims and say the lawsuit, which was filed last year, is an attempt by a large company to wipe out a competitor. They say they crafted designs for their bike, the Volagi Liscio, after they left Specialized.
According to the Mercury News, Specialized had to put aside some of their most serious claims of trade secret theft when the judge curtailed the scope of the suit. They’re instead seeking at least $41,500 in damages to send a message about employees setting up a rival company while already in employment.
In closing arguments, Volagi’s lawyer told the jury the case was about stifling competition. His opposite number countered that Specialized, one of the world’s largest bike manufacturers, didn’t need to worry about rivals the size of Volagi and the case was about “two employees who breached their contract with us”.
Supporting the theory that all publicity is good publicity, Californian website Bohemian.com say sales of Volagi bikes have rocketed since news of the case broke. Staff at the Trek Bicycle Store in Santa Rosa say they’ve sold at least two Liscios every day in the past week.