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Shhh: 10 Make-or-Break Trade Secrets

9. Starwood Hotels

Sometimes, a secret recipe isn't a single ingredient, but rather the perfect balance of hundreds of little details. At least, that's the claim of Starwood Hotels and Resorts (HOT): the company, which owns the upscale Westin hotel chain, filed suit in April 2009 when two of its former employees jumped ship to work for competitor Hilton. According to the suit, which is still in court, the two executives stole over 100,000 files that would enable Hilton to duplicate Westin's luxury style.

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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