Trailfinders suing ex-employees over steps taken before resigning

Travel agency claims the three took preparatory steps to use its trade secrets to set up with rival

Trailfinders on Dawson Street,  Dublin, specialises in the provision of travel packages tailored to the individual requirements of customers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Trailfinders on Dawson Street, Dublin, specialises in the provision of travel packages tailored to the individual requirements of customers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A travel agency, Trailfinders, is suing three former employees and a rival company, claiming they took preparatory steps before resigning to use the agency’s trade secrets to set up in competition with the rival.

Trailfinders, Dawson Street, Dublin, is part of the Trailfinders Group which employs 1,000 people throughout the UK and Ireland and specialises in the provision of travel packages tailored to the individual requirements of customers.

It has brought Commercial Court proceedings against a rival firm, Cork-based Travel Counsellors (Ireland) Ltd (TCIL) and against Liam Higgins of Pleasant Street, Portobello; Jamie Thomas, Derrynane Gardens, Sandymount; and Simon Armstrong, Halliday Square, Arbour Hill, all Dublin.

Trailfinders said that in recent years more than 40 consultants had left it to work for TCIL.

Among them are the three personal defendants who, Trailfinders claims, took preparatory steps to set up in competition using confidential information from their previous employer.

In the case of Mr Higgins, after he left in February 2018, emails intended for him were inadvertently sent to Trailfinders by four former clients of the company showing Mr Higgins had kept them on as clients for his and TCIL’s benefit, it is claimed.

TCIL’s business model is to engage individuals to work as travel counsellors from home under the TCIL brand and using its systems and methods.

Travel advisory services provided by counsellors are then paid by TCIL with 60 per cent of the resulting commission going to the counsellors and 40 per cent to TCIL, it is claimed.

Trailfinders says the confidential information of competitors targeted in this way by TCIL is covered by data and privacy rights.

Injunctions

It seeks, among other things, injunctions preventing the former employees from disclosing trade secrets and restraining the former employees from breaching their contracts of employment with Trailfinders.

It also seeks disclosure to an independent expert all client data provided by the former employees as well as damages.

On Monday, on the application of Michael Howard SC, for TCIL, to have the case entered into the fast-track commercial list, Mr Justice Robert Haughton admitted it to the list and adjourned it to December. The personal defendants consented to the admission while Trailfinders itself did not object, the court heard.