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Health data firm sues competitor over trade secrets and employee poaching

Iqvia, Inc. for follow-up defendants Veeva Systems, Inc. and Peter Stark in the District of New Jersey on Monday for alleged violations of non-competitive agreements the plaintiff had with Stark. The injunction and damages claim cites violation of several agreements, tort interference with contact, non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality.

Stark, according to the plaintiffs, previously owned a company called Pursuit Solutions, which was purchased by the plaintiff in 2016. As a result of the transaction and his “continued and highly paid employment with Iqvia,” Stark was subjected to certain no -the obligations of competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality.

Stark’s job at Iqvia would have been to perform marketing analysis, more specifically to lead “the design and future roadmap of Iqvia’s main marketing analysis tool … specifically to compete directly with defendant Veeva”. In 2021, Stark was tasked with collecting trade secrets and other highly confidential information about Iqvia so that they could produce a detailed assessment of their commercial technology offerings against the accused Veeva. He had access to all of Iqvia’s strategic plans, competitive intelligence and investment plans, according to the complaint.

Stark’s valuable position at Iqvia led Veeva to recruit Stark for “employment talks” in June, according to the complaint. The complainant asserts that by recruiting employees of their competitors, Veeva then aims to initiate “unfounded preventive proceedings … seeking to invalidate the non-compete agreements of these employees”. During the months that Stark was engaged in employment discussions with Veeva, he continued to work with highly confidential Iqvia competition information.

In September, Stark informed Iqvia that he would be leaving their company to take a leadership role at Veeva, where he would lead “the development of the overall business services strategy of Veeva.” In an effort to allay Iqvia’s concerns, he informed them that his job with Veeva would not start until January 2022. The complainant says he believes Stark’s employment actually started in October, that he “ is already commercially active with Veeva and guides Veeva in recruiting other Iqvia employees.

Iqvia argues that it now risks losing all of its trade secrets and other confidential information to one of its main competitors due to the illegal actions carried out on behalf of the defendants. They say it is “inconceivable” that Stark will not disclose the confidential information he holds about Iqvia to his new employer, Veeva. The plaintiff claims that anything that is not an immediate injunction will cause irreparable damage to his business.

The plaintiff seeks injunctions preventing Stark and Veeva from continuing any form of employment and violating Stark’s confidentiality agreements with Iqvia. They also seek declaratory and pecuniary reparation, compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, litigation costs and any other reparation deemed just by the Court. The applicant is represented by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.