FASHION LAW: CARTIER SUES FORMER TIFFANY & CO. EXEC FOR TRADE SECRET THEFT
Headlining the news, yet again, is Tiffany & Co., the ultra luxurious high-end jeweler who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Earlier this month, Cartier filed a lawsuit against former director of off-line advertising, Melissa Pordy, for requesting the help of a coworker to download confidential information regarding the jewelry house’s advertising plans. If that wasn’t enough to place Pordy in hot water, she then attempted to persuade that same employee to follow her to competitor Tiffany & Co.
The lawsuit, filed in New York federal court by Cartier parent company Richemont North America Inc., states that Pordy, upon hearing that she was being laid off due to restructuring, not only planned but took steps to access confidential information, which were property of Cartier. Some of the actions Pordy took to obtain this information included giving the assistant manager of offline advertising (left unnamed in court documents) nine USB thumb drives to download official Cartier information centered on advertising plans, proposals, and strategies.
The assistant manager, who was also Pordy’s former assistant, was told by Pordy that the information would be used “if we need it sometime,” according to court documents.
Shortly after verbally accepting a position with Tiffany & Co.. and resigning from Cartier, the assistant manager withdrew her resignation and confessed to a colleague that Pordy requested her help in downloading confidential files.
Richemont’s lawsuit further claims that Pordy, after pretending to be a member of the human resources department to transfer her work number to her personal cell, received more than $28,000 in wages she has yet to return.
Richemont is suing Pordy for violating employee agreements she signed that clearly outlined company protocol regarding confidential information and for soliciting employees to leave Cartier. The company is seeking unspecified damages, $28,889 in unearned wages, the return and/or destruction of any confidential information gathered, and a permanent block on using the telephone number once owned by Richemont.
News reference via National Jeweler