We are often assigned to investigate the apparent theft of trade secrets by clients’ departed employees or other insiders. In one matter, for example, a computer company hired us after learning that a departing scientist had e-mailed some of its trade secrets to a professor in Japan before resigning to join a competitor. We found that the professor was employed by the competitor and that it was a subsidiary of a Japanese multinational—deep pockets for the lawsuit that our client subsequently brought.
Counterfeit and Grey Market Trading
We have traced all sorts of counterfeit and grey market products to their sources, almost invariably across borders, for rights holders in industries as diverse as apparel, pharmaceuticals, entertainment and machine parts. In one case, we gathered evidence for a rock’n’roll group’s lawyers that they used as the basis for cease-and-desist letters to dealers in bootleg CDs. We revisited one of these dealers after he received the lawyer’s letter, and the infringer obligingly told us: “We got a letter, so we had to move the bootlegs to the back room.” The press has reported on the Mintz Group training in-house company investigators in how to combat counterfeiting.
We have helped artists get the facts behind surprising numbers that turned up in royalty audits. In one case, Fortune magazine reported: “Mintz was hired by the Beatles to find out if, as they suspected, Capitol Records had cheated them by secretly selling millions of albums. Using database and old newspaper stories to find people who had worked in the record business 30 years ago, Mintz found the widow of a wholesaler with an attic full of business records. After hours of sifting through boxes, Mintz discovered a check confirming the secret sales. Capitol settled the suit for a reported $80 million….”