The same day Corncob Inc. received a Wisconsin Innovation Award, two Minnesota companies accused the Waukesha-based startup of stealing their business projects and misrepresenting the development of its water treatment product.

Douglas Hwang holds up a model to show the membrane system’s resemblance to a corncob during a 2017 product demonstration

Plymouth, Minnesota-based Clark Technology LLC and Clark Engineering Corp. filed a lawsuit Oct. 3 in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin against Corncob and its parent company Pro-Equipment Inc., which is also based in Waukesha.

The same day, Corncob was recognized in the agriculture category by the Wisconsin Innovation Awards for its dynamic membrane water filtration system. Corncob is also a 2017 graduate of The Water Council’s Brew startup accelerator, a program that includes a $50,000 equity investment, space in the Global Water Center and business training and mentorship.

The lawsuit alleges Corncob and Pro-Equipment broke an agreement with the Minnesota companies to not circumvent relationships with existing or prospective customers. It also claims Corncob marketed Clark Tech’s Leachbuster water treatment system as Corncob I, the first generation of its products. Read the full story here.