An Idaho-based software company is facing a trade-secrets lawsuit from a Connecticut firm after the Idaho company hired two of the Connecticut company’s former employees, the AP reports; it’s a type of legal challenge that’s becoming increasingly common. At issue are common and often contested areas of business law: What information departing employees may take with them to the next job, and who they may contact after leaving.
Here’s a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone:
Boise-based software firm subject of trade-secret lawsuit
By REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A financial software company headquartered in Connecticut is suing an Idaho-based software company after the Idaho company hired two of the Connecticut company's former employees.
The lawsuit, brought by SS&C Technologies Inc. against Clearwater Analytics and former SS&C employee Bradley Rossa in Illinois state court, focuses on common and often contested areas of business law: What information departing employees may take with them to the next job, and who they may contact after leaving.
SS&C has also filed a similar lawsuit against another former employee, Richard Pullara, in federal court in Connecticut.
The number of trade-secret lawsuits filed in federal courts has increased dramatically in recent years, doubling about every decade. State courts have also seen a rapid increase in the number of such lawsuits.
That trend is likely to continue, said Annemarie Bridy, a University of Idaho law professor and expert in intellectual property and technology law. "Information is very valuable, and as more and more of the value in our economy is attributable to information and intellectual property, you would expect the control of that information to become more and more contested," Bridy said.
In the two lawsuits, SS&C contends that the former employees emailed or made digital copies of confidential customer and product documents before they left work at SS&C's Chicago office, and that they used or intended to use the information at their new jobs at Clearwater Analytics in Boise.
SS&C also contends that Pullara, who left the company in 2012, violated a non-solicitation contract when he recruited or tried to recruit other SS&C employees to join the Boise company.
Finally, SS&C contends that Clearwater knew Rossa had proprietary information from his former company, and thus violated trade-secret laws and illegally interfered with Rossa's non-disclosure contract by hiring him.
Brian Sieve, the attorney representing Clearwater Analytics and the former SS&C employees in both cases, did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press. However, Clearwater has denied any wrongdoing in court documents filed in response to the lawsuits.
Patrick Pedonti, SS&C's chief financial officer, said his company will "vigorously enforce our rights."
"It is hard to control what employees take when they leave, but they clearly have an obligation not to use that information, especially with competitors. That's why we have agreements with employees that they can't take confidential information or trade secrets," Pedonti said.