Caterpillar to pay $74 million after found guilty of stealing trade secrets

Caterpillar to pay $74 million after found guilty of stealing trade secretsCaterpillar (NYSE:CAT), the world’s No.1 heavy machinery maker, will have to pay $74 million to one of its suppliers after a U.S. court found it guilty of stealing trade secrets from that company.

Following an eight-week trial in Chicago, the jury in a U.S. District Court voted in favour of Miller UK Ltd., an England-based supplier that in 2010 accused Caterpillar of misusing classified information from them to produce its own coupler, rather than buying it from Miller. Couplers are used to attach large scoops to excavators and other equipment. The Peoria-based firm denied those claims.

“We are disappointed by the jury’s verdict,” a Caterpillar spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal. “At this point, we are considering our next steps in this litigation,” she added.

Last month, Caterpillar put another nail in the mining industry’s coffin after reporting that its sales declined again in October, marking the 35th straight month of sustained drops.

CAT’s performance is often seen as a gauge of the health of the global economy, as its machines are huge, expensive, and used in different kinds of projects to which companies and governments are only likely to commit if they're confident in the economic outlook and their financial standing.