My ex-business partner has stolen our customer database. What can I do?

michael-shroot-profile-photo-square.jpg

Dealing with the issue of stolen customer data is a complicated area of law with a myriad of options and avenues to consider.

Michael Shroot, our chief executive officer and a solicitor with specialist expertise in director and contract disputes, offers four practical steps to help retrieve stolen data, claim compensation and avoid it happening in the future.

Establish what information was taken

If you believe that an ex-business partner or director has stolen sensitive data from your business the first thing is to establish exactly what information has been taken, the importance of the information to your business as well as how the information was stored and how it was taken.

This may even require a forensic IT report to be prepared by a specialist, to ascertain this information. This is particularly important if you think the information was taken in a clandestine manner as this may assist in more readily persuading the ex-business partner to return the stolen confidential information. The report may also be valuable in court proceedings if there is a need to take more urgent action.

Check what contracts exist between the parties

It will be essential at this point to also check contracts between the parties to see what protection they offer. Contracts that are properly drafted should readily spell out what business data is considered confidential, how it is considered to be protected and what your ex-business partner is allowed to do from a business point-of-view after he leaves your business. Contractual restrictions for departed employees may include a fixed period that they must not approach your customers or take your customer business to their next employment.

The documents you would be looking for include:

If the ex-business partner was an employee, check the employment contract. If the ex-business partner was a shareholder check the shareholding contracts. If the ex-business partner was a partner of the business, check the partnership deed.

Consider the application of other areas of related law

Aside from the abovementioned contracts you can also consider the application of other areas of relevant law, this may include:

The application of the equitable doctrine – where a person who has received information in confidence cannot take unfair advantage of it and must not use it to the prejudice of the person who gave the information without obtaining consent. Consideration of whether the information is a trade secret, which can be protected not only by the equitable doctrine of confidence but also the Trade Secrets (Enforcement, etc) Regulations 2018 (SI 201/597) (Trade Secret Regulations). Database rights contained in the database regulations and copyright protection. The risk of a breach of the GDPR regulations and what criminal offences may apply.

Consider how to enforce your rights to protect your business

Finally, you will need to consider how to enforce your rights to protect your business and to prevent the use of the confidential information. You may consider taking further action as follows:

Applying to court for an injunction to prevent the ex-business partner using the confidential information and to return it to you. Applying to court for a search order, particularly appropriate in cases of fraud, allowing you to enter the ex-business partner’s premises and to search for, copy and remove, documents or other relevant materials. Depending upon whether matters go to court, and what the ex-business partner has done with the confidential information, it is advisable to take legal advice to seek compensation for the loss and/or an account of profits made by the other party and for recovery of your costs incurred in carrying out this exercise.

Michael Shroot is Woodcock Haworth & Nuttall’s chief executive officer and head of their employment law team. Michael has specific expertise in employment law, shareholder, director and contract disputes. He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association.

If you need help on such matters, please contact Michael on 0161 761 8087 or by email via [email protected]

{mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

Enjoyed this? Read more from Woodcocks Haworth & Nuttall Solicitors

Latest news

1

Work begins on £3m youth zone expansion Blackburn Youth Zone Rosslee Construction

Work begins on £3m youth zone expansion

11 Jul 2024

2

Employment initiative launched at careers conference Careers Hub Event

Employment initiative launched at careers conference

09 Jul 2024

3

Counties need to get real on mayors frank-mckenna-1000x500.jpg

Counties need to get real on mayors

12 Jul 2024

4

New manager takes the helm at Conkers Day Nursery in Langho Katie Twine manager at Conkers.jpg.jpg

New manager takes the helm at Conkers Day Nursery in Langho

12 Jul 2024

5

Farleys assists Basically Cheer and Fitness with new lease in Burnley Parkside Methodist Church.jpg.jpg

Farleys assists Basically Cheer and Fitness with new lease in Burnley

12 Jul 2024

Bec Web Strip 980x120
Background image for hub sign up block

LBV Hub

Leverage Lancashire Business View platforms

Post your news
Post your events
Post your offers
Build your network
Improve your SEO
Gain coverage in the magazine
Sign-up
Events
Lancashire Built Environment Conference
BEC 315 X 315 Px
Networking
25 Sep 2024

Lancashire Built Environment Conference

Conference and Exhibition Centre, Winter Gardens Blackpool, FY1 1HL

08:30 - 13:00

RISE - The Academy for Female Leaders and Managers
WENDY BOWERS RISE Illustrstion copy.jpg.jpg
LBV Hub Seminars
11 Jun 2024 - 04 Dec 2024

RISE - The Academy for Female Leaders and Managers

East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Clayton le Moors, BB5 5JR

09:00 - 16:30

LBV117 Magazine Launch Event
DSC9389
Networking
16 Jul 2024

LBV117 Magazine Launch Event

Blackburn Rovers Football Club, Blackburn, BB12 9EE

16:00 - 18:00

A Freelancers Introduction to Co-ops with John Atherton
Screenshot 2024-06-13 at 13.59.57.png.png
LBV Hub Seminars
17 Jul 2024 - 17 Jul 2024

A Freelancers Introduction to Co-ops with John Atherton

Society1 Coworking Space, Preston, PR1 3LT

14:00 - 16:00

The Business Network Central & East Lancashire
LBV Header (10).png.png
LBV Hub Networking
18 Jul 2024 - 18 Jul 2024

The Business Network Central & East Lancashire

Mytton Fold, Langho, BB6 8AB

11:30 - 14:15

Conversations in Creativity - Creative Networking Event
Untitled design-4.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
18 Jul 2024

Conversations in Creativity - Creative Networking Event

Society1 Coworking Space, Preston, PR1 3LT

17:30 - 19:30

Lancashire Economic Breakfast
LBV Hub Seminars
18 Jul 2024

Lancashire Economic Breakfast

The Mill, St Catherine's Park, Preston, Lancashire

07:15 - 09:00

Preston Freelancer MeetUp and Coworking Day
Screenshot 2024-06-13 at 13.55.10.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
30 Jul 2024

Preston Freelancer MeetUp and Coworking Day

Society1 Coworking Space, Preston, PR1 3LT

10:00 - 12:00

Chamber Breakfast Networking
Chamber Logo1.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
31 Jul 2024

Chamber Breakfast Networking

Pye Motors, Morecambe, LA3 3PF

08:00 - 10:00

Scaling your revenue: From zero to £1m in 60 months
CBP-logo LBV.png.png
LBV Hub Webinar
31 Jul 2024

Scaling your revenue: From zero to £1m in 60 months

Online, Online, Online

08:00 - 09:30

Online Women's Health Clinic
clinic.png.png
LBV Hub Webinar
06 Aug 2024

Online Women's Health Clinic

x, Online, x

12:00 - 12:00

International Coworking Day Open Day
1.png.png
LBV Hub Social
09 Aug 2024 - 09 Aug 2024

International Coworking Day Open Day

Society1 Coworking Space, Prestin, PR1 3 LT

10:00 - 13:00

Advertise with us

Reaching 50,000 members, our print, digital and event platforms offer a fantastic way to raise your business profile and help you grow.

Find out more LBV116 Online Graphic
Subscribe now

Weekly news bulletin