August 2 2010, 10:23 AM
Late last year, Columbia Sportswear Company launched a trade-secrets scuffle with Niwot-based Crocs, alleging one of its former designers was working for Crocs on the side. Columbia, based in Portland, Oregon, sued over Crocs' hiring of Brian O'Boyle as an independent contractor. The suit was settled late last week, and though monetary and other considerations were part of the settlement, the details have not been disclosed, according to the Denver Business Journal. "Crocs respects third-party trade secrets, intellectual property, and employment-related obligations," Crocs executive vice president Daniel Hart says in a statement. "We regret that Crocs retained a Columbia footwear designer to provide footwear design services to Crocs while he was also employed by Columbia." Columbia is also pursuing a breach-of-contract suit against O'Boyle, who denies wrongdoing, saying he did not violate any contract with Columbia and that Crocs is not in direct competition with Columbia. The Oregonian's Jeff Manning characterizes Hart's words as a "rare public apology" by Crocs.