Modern Tools for the Modern Investigation
Our McCann investigators have worked on hundreds of cases involving non-compete violations. These complex investigations involve the use of McCann’s exceptional resources, assets and investigation tools to gather evidence to support the client’s case. Gathering sufficient evidence supporting the non-compete violation is key in obtaining a temporary court injunction to halt the violation and to take steps to begin recovery efforts.
Is a former employee attempting to start a new venture in violation of a non-compete agreement? How can you prove this? In order to obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO), it is important to substantiate the claims that the employee has downloaded proprietary company information, such as client lists, pricing information, trade secrets, designs or plans. The best practice in proving such a claim is employing a licensed computer forensics examiner who can document that the data has been downloaded. When the investigation goes beyond the digital realm, McCann employs other investigation tools such as surveillance, undercover work and detailed reporting that can be used legally in civil proceedings.
Many non-compete enforcement violations encompass a component of intellectual property theft. Often there is a gray area as to whom the intellectual property belongs – it could be to the developer who created the idea, or the company that provided the resources for the developer.
It is key that employers have tight non-compete agreements in place to ensure that any intellectual property developed belongs to the company. The theft of intellectual property can be facilitated by internal sources such as current or former employees who access and download proprietary data to either use for their own personal gain or to give to company competitors.
Intellectual property theft can cause significant harm to a business, both in terms of revenue and reputation. To learn more about McCann’s non-compete violation cases, please click on the links below, or read McCann’s Case Study: Enforcing and Non Compete Agreement
Non-Compete Enforcement Cases
The cases listed below represent a small sample of the hundreds of cases investigated by McCann over the past 28 years. Material facts have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients. Some of the cases discussed combine various issues and materials found in relevant case studies that have been reviewed by McCann Investigators. No attempt should be made to draw any factual conclusions based on the cases discussed. Please contact McCann Investigations for real world cases in which references can be furnished.
Wealth Management Company Discovers that Client Data has been Downloaded by Departing Employee
In this case, our client discovered that its customers had begun receiving mailings from a recently departed employee. The list of customers from this wealth management company was highly specialized, with many customers unknown to the general public. The customer database was built over twenty years and contained social security numbers, bank accounts and other data that could be used in identity theft. The client not only faced a clear theft of data and violation of non compete issues, they faced having to disclose the data breach to their customers. McCann digital investigators were able to determine that the client data was removed via USB drive and uploaded into the new company's CRM program. The client successfully obtained a TRO, barring the former employee from contacting further customers. McCann also helped to notify clients of the data loss and worked with te client to help repair their damaged reputation.
Salesperson Brings Scores of Existing Proposals from Previous Employer
In this "classic" case of a non compete agreement violation, our client contacts us when a former salesperson leaves for greener pastures and takes millions of dollars worth of pending proposals with them. Within weeks of new employment with the new company, our client's customers were being contacted and offered discounts off of their existing proposal to come on board with the new company. In this case, McCann Investigations was able to document the download and removal of these proposals and were able to record conversations between the salesperson and a customer of our client who participated in the investigation. A civil suit was filed against the salesperson and the new employer who was found to be a conspirator benefiting from the ill-gotten information.
Stolen Client Database
Our client believed that a former executive took a complete copy of the client CRM database. McCann digital forensic investigators were able to determine the exact date, time and method in which the executive made the copy. After the new company was forced to allow McCann to examine its servers, it was determined that they had uploaded an exact copy of the database.
Custom Pricing Model Copied
A home builder who had spent years building a custom pricing program discovered that its former CFO was using the same model with a new employer. The system, designed over 24 months and costing over half a million dollars to develop was now being used by a competitor. After being forced by the courts to turn over access to the servers, McCann network forensics examiners were able to show when the program was uploaded and that it was in fact a copy of the program in question.