Dyson has launched an all-out warfare in protecting its intellectual property rights, with the latest shot directed at its former chief executive, Max Conze, for leaking company secrets.
On Wednesday, Dyson filed a legal claim to the High Court in London, outlining three allegations toward Conze. The first allegation was an unauthorized disclosure of confidential product information, including Dyson’s 2020 electric car plans, to third parties, with no mention of who these third parties are. The second and third allegations revolve around the unauthorized use of company information for investment purposes, as well as misconduct and negligence. No specific details were given.
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“The Dyson board has decided to bring a claim against Max Conze at the High Court of Justice in London in relation to his actions while chief executive including the disclosure of confidential information, and a breach of his fiduciary duties,” said a company spokesperson.
Conze also indicated plans to parry Dyson’s left hook with a wrongful termination lawsuit of his own, alluding to a secret that the vacuum giant is withholding.
“I did nothing of the sort. During my six years as chief executive of Dyson the sales and profits will have tripled with the company growing from 2,500 to 10,000 staff,” said Max Conze. “When I arrived from Frankfurt in 2010 Dyson sold around 5 million machines, in 2016 it sold 13 million, and that momentum is continuing. This couldn’t have happened without my total commitment to the business and its people. This ridiculous allegation is merely trying to distract attention from the claims that Dyson know I am about to issue.”
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Max Conze served as CEO of Dyson since Feb. 2012 after joining the company in 2010 as president of North America. Under his direction, Dyson profits rose 41 percent in 2016 to $833 million (£631 million). Prior to Dyson, Conze served an 18-year tenure at Procter and Gamble as a senior marketing director, managing director, and general manager for its global female beauty care division after a stint in the German army parachute regiment.
Before its first electric car has been released, Dyson and other automakers have already seen the courtroom for intellectual property squabbles with their own employees. In 2015, Dyson filed an injunction against former senior engineer turned Tesla recruit Pierre Pellerey for revealing its EV plans. This week, Faraday Future is suing its former CFO Stefan Krause for botched fundraising efforts, citing “malfeasance and dereliction of duty.”
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