Unicon takes legal action against IGEL Technology
16 May 2022
Karlsruhe, Germany, May 16th, 2022. (updated on May 19th, 2022). Recently, a newspaper article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung No. 111 of May 14 / 15, 2022 reported about the civil and criminal proceedings initiated by software company Unicon. Unicon would now like to comment on the current situation.
“Unicon’s top priority is our customers’, business partners’, and employees’ trust. Last year, there were initial indications that data and documents had been copied and left the company. We suspected that they might contain strictly confidential Unicon trade secrets. Since then, there have been indications that some of these documents have found their way to IGEL Technology,” explains Unicon CEO Philipp Benkler. “We will therefore exhaust all legal options to clarify this suspicion and stand out against the possibility that Unicon trade secrets are being illegally disseminated and used by unauthorized third parties.”
At the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, several employees as well as the former managing director of Unicon had left the company to join its direct competitor IGEL Technology. Subsequently, there were indications that the former managing director had made and taken electronic copies of data and documents that might contain strictly confidential trade secrets. This suspicion was corroborated over the following weeks.
In February 2021, Unicon filed criminal charges against its former managing director with the Karlsruhe public prosecutor’s office on suspicion of violation of trade secrets. The initial results of the investigation by the public prosecutor’s office (file No. 710 JS 10500/21) have corroborated this suspicion, although the extent of the data and documents seized appears to be even greater than originally feared by Unicon. From Unicon’s point of view, some of these data and documents contain strictly confidential trade secrets. First results of the prosecutor’s investigation provide new indication that some of these trade secrets have found their way to IGEL Technology. The investigation is currently ongoing.
On February 14, 2022, Unicon filed criminal charges against responsible persons and employees of IGEL Technology GmbH with the Karlsruhe public prosecutor’s office. The latter acknowledged receipt of the complaint on March 4, 2022, under file No. 710 JS 8214/22. The investigation is currently ongoing.
Unicon has also taken various civil actions:
The company obtained an injunction against its former managing director before the Munich I Regional Court (case No. 37 O 1825/22) on February 15, 2022, for infringement of trade secrets.* Upon Unicon’s motion, the court ordered that the documents submitted in the proceedings shall be kept confidential. Since then, Unicon’s former managing director has filed a partial opposition against the injunction. The defendant primarily disputes the secret nature of the documents submitted in the proceedings and claims to have been entitled to copy and did only copy and take the documents to safeguard what he considered to be legitimate personal interests. Moreover, he had never intended to use them against Unicon. This opposition is expected to be heard by the Munich I Regional Court at the end of June and will then be decided in a judgment. Against this judgment an appeal may be filed.
In addition, Unicon instituted main proceedings against its former managing director on December 23, 2021, which are now pending before the Munich I Regional Court under file No. 37 O 3042/22. Unicon is suing its former managing director for information about the scope and manner of use of the documents seized from him in the course of the criminal investigation, as Unicon hold the view that the documents contain its trade secrets. An oral hearing has not yet been scheduled by the court. The facts of the case have still not been clarified between the two parties.
Furthermore, on February 14, 2022, Unicon filed an application for an injunction against two managing directors of IGEL Technology before the Munich I Regional Court (File Number 33 O 1827/22). From Unicon’s perspective, the two executives were personally involved in the infringement of Unicon’s trade secrets. After several writs submitted by Unicon and IGEL Technology, the Munich I Regional Court dismissed the application by order on May 2, 2022, without a hearing. Unicon has not appealed this decision.
Furthermore, Unicon obtained an injunction against IGEL Technology before the Regional Court of Bremen (file No. 9 O 165/22) on February 7, 2022, also on the grounds of infringement of trade secrets.* Again, upon Unicon’s motion, the court ordered that the documents submittted in the proceedings shall be kept confidential. IGEL Technology submitted a partial acknowledgement on March 7, 2022, and at the same time filed a partial objection to it, which it justified on April 11, 2022. Among other things, IGEL disputes the secret nature of the documents submitted in the proceedings, points out the former Managing Director’s authorization to copy and take the documents, and disputes the use and intention to use the documents submitted in the proceedings. Unicon submitted a writ on this matter in the proceedings on May 4, 2022. To the extent IGEL Technology has challenged the order, the Bremen Regional Court has not yet ruled on this matter. Once it does, the decision may be appealed.
These are the legal measures Unicon has taken to protect its customers, business partners, shareholders, and employees. These measures prevent confidential information that has unlawfully fallen into the hands of unauthorized persons from being used by them or disclosed to third parties.
Unicon’s goal is to return to fair competition.
* Both injunctions were issued by way of an ex-parte court order, without a prior hearing and without oral proceedings. An injunction is a provisional decision on an urgent matter. A final decision is reserved for main proceedings.
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Unicon is a leading IT technology company and a pioneer in Thin Client software. With eLux and Scout, Unicon offers the most powerful software solutions for a central IT architecture. More than two million end devices in over 65 countries worldwide are currently operated and managed with the software. The software company’s customers include leading companies in the financial and insurance sectors, retail, and the public sector. Unicon has its headquarters in Karlsruhe.