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A Portland construction company says Hillsboro chipmaker has been using its formula in arbitration talks with another company working at the Ronler Acres campus.

Correction appended

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Construction at Intel's Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro is at the heart of legal proceedings calling for Intel and a Portland construction company to stop disclosing trade secrets.Construction of a new facility at Intel's Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro has sparked a Portland company to ask a Portland judge to to stop the spread of trade secrets.

Harder Mechanical Contractors, a Portland-based construction company, filed a claim for injunctive relief in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Thursday, May 11, calling for Intel and competing construction company Hoffman Construction to stop using Harder's trade secrets.

The filing claims that Intel and Hoffman breached contracts they had with Harder and misappropriated Harder's trade secrets by revealing them to one another.

Harder submitted a bid on a construction project for Intel some time ago, the filing said, which included a formula Harder uses to establish its bids.

That information is a trade secret, Harder claims. The company contributed the information because Intel pledged that "bids received by Intel will be treated as confidential and will not be distributed to any third parties beyond Intel's project team," according to the filing.

Later, Hoffman Construction, a competing Portland-based construction company, was the winning bidder in an unrelated Intel project called "D1X Mod 2," a 1-million-square-foot research factory at Ronler Acres. The project is part of a $3 billion construction project to erect four new buildings on the campus, the company's largest and most sophisticated site in Oregon.

Hoffman started work on the project, but Hoffman and Intel began to argue about how much Hoffman Construction was charging the company, Harder claims.

According to Harder, Intel challenged Hoffman's method of determining a fair price for the project and began to work up their own price for it.

"In doing so, Intel apparently relied on bidding information previously received from Harder in unrelated projects," Harder wrote, "despite the language in Intel's RFPs that 'bids received by Intel will be treated as confidential and will not be distributed to any third parties …'"

Harder has objected to Intel and Hoffman using Hoffman's formulas in their arbitration, but the two companies have said they plan to use the documents in order to establish a fair price with Hoffman.

Hoffman and Intel are currently in arbitration regarding the Mod 2 project, and Harder said both companies have been sharing Harder's trade secrets with one another in their work to find a resolution.

"Intel has already provided almost 39 million pages of documents to Hoffman in response to Hoffman's request for production, in which Harder's confidential and trade-secret information is included," the filing claimed. "Intel also has a large number of additional documents that it intends to provide to Hoffman …"

Intel also requested Harder's trade secrets from subcontractors, Harder claims, even though those subcontractors have "a duty to maintain their secrecy," the company wrote in its filing. "… Intel knew that the subcontractors obtained the Harder-related trade-secret information under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain their secrecy."

The filing is asking a Multnomah County judge to bar the two companies from using or disclosing Harder's information. The filing would also keep the two companies from seeking that information from subcontractors.

"The damage from Intel's misappropriation of Harder's trade secrets cannot be measured and is, or will be, irreparable," reads the filing.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to the injunction request as a lawsuit.

By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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