A new employment agreement for a key role at The Pedowitz Group, LLC (TPG) quickly went south as the employee went north in less than a month, allegedly with trade names, confidential information, and a propensity to talk and write about them and his former employer.
TPG and Jeff Pedowitz (Pedowitz) filed suit on March 15, 2013 against Jeff Ogden (Ogden) and Find New Customers (FNC). The complaint includes multiple counts of common law trademark infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract, breach of confidentiality agreement, tortious interference with contract, and defamation – seeking injunctive relief and damages, as well as enhanced damages.
TPG serves over 1,000 clients in the marketing field around the world and has received the ABC Pacesetter Award in 2011 and 2012, the Marketo 2012 Revvie Partner Excellence Award, and the 2012 CRM Watchlist Winner Award, according to the complaint. TPG attributes much of its success to products offered under the marks “REVENUE MARKETER” and “REVENUE MARKETING INDEX.”
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TPG alleges that it interviewed Ogden for a Senior Account Manager position in December 2012 and entered into an employement contract with Ogden on December 14, with his employment commencing on January 2, 2013. According to the complaint, Ogden’s contract included a one-year non-compete provision, and upon reporting to work he gained access to confidential information, trade secrets, and other proprietary information of TPG.
The Ogden relationship terminated on January 29, 2013, and through FNC, according to the complaint, Ogden began making “false and libelous statements” regarding plaintiffs on FNC website and using TPG marks. A cease and desist demand letter of February 21, 2013 drew no response, FNC states.
Although Ogden and FNC are located in New York, TPG asserts that the time Ogden spent in Georgia and his continuing competitive efforts in the state confer personal jurisdiction over him in the North District of Georgia.
TPG quotes directly from the FNC website to support its claims, including the following:
- While we did have a brief stop at The Pedowitz Group, managing GE, we’re happy to be back at our own company, where we have control of our own destiny (And I don’t have to work for the arrogant Jeff P. anymore.) (Paragraph 70 of the Complaint)
- I just left a job with The Pedowitz Group where I was the global sales leader on their most important client. My boss, the CEO, said to me “I’m still the best salesperson in this firm.” I no longer work for that pompous ass. (Paragraph 71)
- Unlike our former company, we are modest, honest and giving. (Paragraph 72)
- Please note that the term “revenue marketing” belongs to my former employer, The Pedowitz Group. (Paragraph 80)
According to TPG, FNC used the terms “Revenue Marketer,” “Revenue Marketing Assessment Service,” and “Revenue Marketing Journey” on its websites. Yet FNC also acknowledged that its service was previously named “Lead Generation Assessment Service, but . . . we felt Revenue Marketing Assessment was a better name.” (Paragaraphs 82 through 85)
TPG alleges that when asked by email on February 19, 2013, to cease the alleged misconduct, Ogden responded simply and on the same day, “Sorry Jeff. But the answer is no.” Now Ogden and Find New Customers have a complaint to respond to.
TPG seeks damages and an injunction against the defendants' continuing competition, use of TPG Marks, and other proprietary information.
The case is The Pedowitz Group, LLC, et. al v. Ogden, et. al, No. 1:13-cv-839-RLV, filed 03/15/12 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, assigned to Senior U.S. District Judge Robert L. Vining, Jr.