Trade secret lawsuit: Former employees took client data

Glenn W. Peterson

Sacramento companies are able to achieve success by attracting customers, retaining those customers and providing a needed product or service. However, with everything in a digital format, it has become more important than ever for businesses to take steps to protect this information, often referred to as trade secrets. A trade secret can be anything from a special recipe to training methods that give a company an edge over its competitors.

One company in Los Angeles claims that computer files were secretly transferred by employees with the purpose of starting their own competing company. That company, McCune Masterworks, is best known for its models used in films such as Iron Man 2, Spiderman, Jaws and Star Wars. The company is seeking at least $3 million, which was the price of a contract it had with a client to build automata music boxes.

The employees; a vendor, production designer and shop supervisor; left McCune Masterworks after allegedly taking files from the company’s computers. The employees were apparently upset that the company was not owned by a model maker, but by the widow of the man who founded it. The information taken included vendor lists and client project details that were confidential. The lawsuit also claims that a hard drive was wiped by the men, but was revealed through forensic analysis. McCune Masterworks laid off its employees and closed after the men left.

When businesses feel that their interests have been violated by others’ actions, they have the right to pursue justice in a court of law. As such, they may find it helpful to meet with a qualified attorney.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “’Star Wars’ Model-Maker Sues Ex-Employees for Stealing Trade Secrets,” Ashley Cullins, June 24, 2016