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JPMorgan accuses TransUnion subsidiary of stealing trade secrets

Post Time:2024-03-21 Source:Reuters Author:Blake Brittain Views:

March 20 (Reuters) - Banking giant JPMorgan & Chase (JPM.N) has filed a lawsuit in Delaware federal court accusing TransUnion's (TRU.N) Argus Information and Advisory Services of misappropriating JPMorgan's trade secrets to unlawfully bolster its business.

The complaint filed Tuesday accused Argus of misusing confidential credit card data it obtained while serving as a data aggregator for federal financial regulators to support its "lucrative" analytics work.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week, opens new tab that Argus would pay $37 million to settle related allegations from the federal government.

TransUnion bought Argus in 2022 with its acquisition of Verisk Analytics's (VRSK.O) Verisk Financial Services. TransUnion said in a statement on Wednesday that the lawsuit relates to actions that "precede TransUnion's acquisition of Argus."

"We disagree with the allegations in this lawsuit, and we will vigorously defend against them," Verisk Analytics spokesperson Alberto Canal said on Wednesday, calling data security and ethics "cornerstones of Verisk's business."

JPMorgan's Chief Data and Analytics Officer Seth Wheeler said in a statement on Wednesday that Argus "used Chase's data for its own commercial gain, and it's time this pattern of behavior stops once and for all."

Argus collected and stored anonymous credit card data for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and other U.S. government entities from 2009 to 2020. Argus' government contracts prohibited the company from using the data in other parts of its business.

JPMorgan said in its lawsuit that Argus misused confidential credit card information of "tens of millions of users," obtained under the government contracts. It said Argus used the data to create benchmarking reports for its commercial business after JPMorgan withdrew from Argus' benchmarking studies and ended its relationship with the company in 2010.

According to the complaint, a whistleblower told JPMorgan about Argus' "ongoing willful and malicious misappropriation" of its data in 2021.

"Argus intentionally misled JPMC into believing Argus had thoroughly investigated the whistleblower's allegations and determined that none of JPMC's Trade Secret Data had been misappropriated," the lawsuit said.

JPMorgan requested an unspecified amount of money damages and other court relief from Argus, Verisk and TransUnion.

The case is JPMorgan Chase Bank v. Argus Information & Advisory Services Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, No. 1:24-cv-00348.