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@Home resolves Netcom suit

The cable Internet access company settles a lawsuit filed by Netcom that alleged the theft of trade secrets and unfair competition.

@Home has settled a lawsuit filed by Netcom On-Line Communications Services that alleged the theft of trade secrets and unfair competition, @Home representatives told CNET's NEWS.COM today.

The high-speed Internet cable service would not disclose terms of the out-of-court settlement, which comes as @Home prepares for an initial public offering. Today's disclosure follows a settlement in a similar, higher-profile case involving Oracle and Informix. Such cases are becoming more common as fast-growing technology companies move aggressively to hire each other's key employees. (See related report)

In April, Netcom filed a complaint in Santa Clara County Superior Court in California against @Home and senior vice president Don Hutchison, a former Netcom employee. The suit charged that @Home "misappropriated Netcom's trade secrets by hiring former Netcom employees and that Hutchison violated a proprietary information agreement with Netcom by disclosing trade secrets and soliciting Netcom's employees to work for the company," according to a summary of the suit in a regulatory filing by @Home.

The suit sought compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an order prohibiting the company from misappropriating Netcom's trade secrets. @Home denied the allegations and had said it would fight the suit vigorously.

A Netcom spokesman contacted today had no official comment on the settlement.