11 Aug 2022

Software firm takes action against former employees over alleged diversion of business to rival firm

Software firm takes action against former employees over alleged diversion of business to rival firm

A multi-national software development firm has brought High Court proceedings against several Irish-based outgoing employees, who it claims have unlawfully diverted its business to a rival firm they allegedly set up.

The action has been brought by Scotland- headquartered Integrated Environmental Solutions Ltd (IES) and related IES R&D Ltd which develop specialised software used to help design buildings that are more environmentally friendly.

The action is against John Gleeson, Stephen Earle, Darren Jordan, Sean O'Riordan and Building Performance Consulting Engineers (BPCE). 

The court heard that all four were senior employees at IES's Irish branch, who on dates between December and January last resigned from that company.

IES claims during the course of their employment with, and in breach of their contracts of employment,  they diverted business from it to the benefit of BPCE.

The High Court heard that IES also apprehends that the defendants have taken its property, including creating models of IES's "Virtual Environment" software, which it is alleged they will use for the BPCE's benefit.

That software is used in the design and construction of energy efficient and sustainable buildings.  IES, which has offices in Scotland, India, Singapore, USA and Australia as well as Ireland sells licences to use its software and also provides consultancy services to clients.

IES claims that its Virtual Environmental Software is widely recognised by experts as being the best building simulation tool in the world.

It is claimed the BPCE, with a registered address in Ashbourne Co Meath, was set up by Mr Gleeson, of Clontarf Park, Dublin 3 when he was still an employee of IES.

It is claimed that Mr Jordan of Rosealier House, Kilnagoran Kildare, Mr Earle of Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford, and Mr O'Riordan of Hanover Quay Dublin 2 were all recruited to join IES.

IES claims that its business has been damaged by the defendant's actions.

Represented by Marcus Dowling SC IES seeks various orders against the defendants including an injunction restraining them from using IES' virtual environmental software.

IES also seeks an injunction requiring the defendants pay IES any revenues generated and received in respect of any business they solicited for the benefit of BES while they were employed by IES. 

Those orders, if granted by the court, would remain in place pending the outcome of IES's damages claim against the defendants.

At the High Court on Friday, Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds granted IES permission, on an ex-parte basis, to serve short notice of its proceedings on the defendants.

The matter returns before the court next week.

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