Powerful Sports Marketing Agency Concerned Employee Left With Confidential Trade Secrets

There's no shortage of stories extolling the genius of John Tatum, the 45-year-old who in 1994 co-founded Genesco Sports Enterprises, the Woodall Rodgers-based consulting group that marries the right product with the right athlete, sport or major league. Sports Business Journal noted in '08 that "Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s defection was the biggest story of the 2007 NASCAR season, and Genesco helped unite the sport's most popular driver with Pepsi's Amp Energy drink." Last year The Dallas Morning News noted that Tatum's the reason they serve Miller Lite at Cowboys Stadium and serve Fritos at Major League Baseball games.

As Tatum told Cheryl Hall, "We represent more corporate partners and sponsors with the NFL and its teams than any other agency in the business." And here he is with Jerry Jones and Clark Hunt at the SMU Athletic Forum luncheon, so named for title sponsor Genesco. Why, only Friday there was a subscription-only piece on Tatum in the Dallas Business Journal.

Three days after that, his attorneys were in Dallas federal court, alleging that a longtime employee resigned in May and left the office earlier this month with trade secrets relating to its confidential deals with, among others, Pepsi, Verizon and Frito-Lay.

The suit, which follows, alleges that on his way out the door, and until the very last second, Sidney White dumped file after file from his laptop and Genesco's servers onto a USB flash drive. White, says the suit, signed a confidentiality agreement in '04 as part of his employment contract included with the filing.

The suit says the "information stolen contains customer account information, including marketing profiles, strategy and budgets for particular products and events." As a result, says yesterday's filing, "such marketing profiles, strategies and budgeting, if forwarded to a Genesco Sports competitor or used in Defendant's own competitive business, will lead to an unfair competitive advantage which the other business would not otherwise have if such confidential and proprietary information were not stolen."

The company's seeking a restraining order and temporary injunction against White, claiming that if the court doesn't act fast, the theft could "irreparably injure Genesco Sports' relationships with its clients."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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