Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Traverse Internet Law Federal Court Report: April 2009 Hacking Lawsuits

The facts are unproven allegations of the Plaintiff and all commentary is based upon the allegations, the truthfulness and accuracy of which are likely in dispute.

FILED: 4/21/2009

This hacking case seems to center upon access to computers while the Defendants were still employed by the Plaintiff. Whether such access is “unauthorized”, and therefore legally actionable, is going to depend upon the facts of each situation. If you have authorization to access a software program it is likely an “unauthorized access” or “hacking” claim is going to fail. However, if you have access to a computer but do not have specific authorization to enter into a particular software program, you may not have authorization and such access could be “hacking”. The courts have not dealt with this issue extensively, but as an employer you are well advised to make the bounds of access to your software programs crystal clear and unambiguous.

Kaleidoscope Imaging is a service company that appears to operate as somewhat of an ad agency using state of the art digital technology. The Defendants are former employees of Kaleidoscope and left to begin their own competing business. Both businesses appear to specialize in “product design”. The Plaintiff claims that the Defendants accessed Kaleidoscope’s protected computer system and copied confidential and proprietary information, trade secrets, and other valuable property without authorization.

The lawsuit alleges violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, trademark infringement, breach of fiduciary duties, unjust enrichment, conversion, trespass to channel, misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference with expectancy, tortious interference with contract, breach of contract, fraud, and civil conspiracy. The claim for relief includes a request for the entry of temporary and permanent injunctions prohibiting the use of the information and a monetary award of compensatory damages, punitive damages, costs and attorneys fees. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1311.