Sunday, March 8, 2009

Canon, IKON, Ricoh, Konica Minolta and All Selling Professionals: Leaving Your current Employer? Read This:

From the article by Morgan Bettex, of Law360:

Canon USA Inc. has sued William D. Crow, a former employee, as well as 10 other "John Does" for allegedly revealing trade secrets and other proprietary information to Ikon Office Solutions Inc. in violation of a confidentiality agreement.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Canon sued Crow, for allegedly disclosing Canon's confidential information to Ikon, as part of a scheme to switch Canon's customers from Canon to Ricoh.

In the complaint, it is explained that, Crow resigned Canon Jan. 5 to join Ikon's government marketing division. In his new position with IKON, according to the complaint, Crow is working Canon's customers in violation his contractual obligations to Canon.

As a condition of his employment, Crow signed a confidentiality agreement the complaint said.

"CUSA has been and will continue to be irreparably harmed by Crow's misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair misuse of CUSA's confidential information, and usurpation of CUSA customer opportunities and goodwill," the complaint said.

It is alleged that between approximately Nov. 17, 2008, and Jan. 6, Crow downloaded information such as pricing reports, customer contact information and monthly machine population reports, for use in his new position, the complaint said.

It is also alleged that Crow deleted quotes, proposals and pricing from his computer.

The case is Canon U.S.A. Inc. v. William D. Crow et aI., case number: 09-cv-OOllO, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

DOTC Analysis, thoughts -

The copier industry is a "revolving door" for sales people in "normal" times, with all the changes going on today, more good people are out of a job or looking for a better position with a more stable company.

The situation displayed above happens daily, but it is rare to have a company sue an ex-employee - but times are different and the battle is being waged on all fronts - something we should be aware of when attempting to better our position in the world.

In California, it is difficult to prosecute a "non-compete" so the angle used could be the confidentiality agreement.

You signed it.

Get a copy, keep it with you, review before jetting...


  1. How about if you are being absolutely harrassed? I work for one of these major manufacturers for many years now. I am one of the top sales reps nationally at this company, and because I had to report a manager for basically extorting reps "hey how about taking care of me" I helped you on this deal... Nice...Isn't that his job, and doesn't he get an override....Now for 2 years, after hoping something would change, I now have to leave for my sanity. Also as a female, I am not in the "boy's club". I am being forced out and my contract should be void, but that is for an attorney to persue. I am a very ethical person, very successful, and my clients have always been satisfied with my work. It is amazing to me that this man is still here, basically this is a scandal that has been swept under the rug. I saw this article and it scared me, but after what I been through I have no choice but to move on. This company talks of their "Vision, Ethics, Value" etc. and because this man is the best friend of his manager, I am now the target. It is such a shame some sales people / managers are so greedy and only care about themselves. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. Anon -

    Sorry to hear.

    Check out some good recruiters, if you're not with IKON, check them out too.

    I hope things get better.


  3. Thank you very much. I hope things get better also. I would like to think that if I leave, the company will simply let me be, since the management is at fault here. For a manager to ask a rep for over a thousand dollars for "his help" is insane, however, he has been protected. I just don't understand it. I will abide by my covenant, but so many people have left because of this man, and I have heard that some of the people have received letters from attornies. What do you think of the extortion? Do you think I would have any sort of law suit enableing me to get out of my contract. By the way, I have just found this website and I love it. Very useful information.