Court Dismisses Trident’s Case Against HP

Court Dismisses Trident’s Case Against HP

Court Dismisses Trident’s Case Against HP

Court Dismisses Trident’s Case Against HPIn a recent decision, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the case brought by Trident E&P, LLC against HP, Inc.

The case originated in 2019, when Trident partnered with HP to bid for a government contract to supply printers and copiers for U.S. Navi ships. As part of the contract requirements, all devices provided must be produced by a single manufacturer. HP proposed using devices manufactured by Canon, which were available to them thanks to their 35-year relationship, and rebranding them as HP products—a standard industry process known as “white labeling”. In November, 2020, HP sent a letter to Trident, where Trident suggested vaguely mentioning HP’s broad manufacturer network without specifying Canon’s involvement.

In August 2021, Trident won the contract through a reverse auction. However, HP later sent a letter to the government disclosing the true origin of the devices, leading to the contract’s termination for violating the single-manufacturer clause. This led Trident to file a lawsuit against HP, seeking damages for the lost contract and economic harm.

Trident claimed HP’s actions amounted to fraud, defamation, and tortious interference, arguing that HP misled them about the acceptability of the rebranded devices and defamed Trident by implying non-compliance with contract terms. HP countered that their letter was truthful and protected under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which shields statements made in connection with governmental matters. HP also argued that Trident could not plausibly allege intentional torts based on accurate information.

The court sided with HP, finding that the letter contained truthful statements relevant to the government contract and thus was protected by the anti-SLAPP statute. The court also ruled that Trident failed to provide sufficient evidence of false representations or defamatory statements by HP. Trident’s claims of fraud and tortious interference were similarly dismissed due to a lack of plausible allegations of wrongful conduct.



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