Intellectual Property Leak - Corporate Investigations Case

Situation – A Canadian-based high-tech manufacturing leader in food-based industry was experiencing intellectual property leaks. Their know-how was observed in several fast-growing start-ups. The MADPI GLOBAL team was called in to assess the situation, find the leak, and help prevent future leaks from happening.

Action – We started by gathering preliminary information from executives and working closely with their internal legal team. Our team members analysed incoming information and developed further intel on several employees and key players in the identified start-ups. In the meantime, our technical experts discreetly analysed computer and electronic hardware and software, as well internal network for leaks, breaches and unauthorized activity at several employee stations.

After gathering and analysing traces of evidence, we determined that everything pointed to one individual; we began concentrating our efforts on the subject’s activities.

First, a thorough background check was conducted that highlighted several important factors, common (but not exclusive) precursors to deceitfully inclined behaviour: steadily growing financial difficulties in the subject’s family; domestic spousal issues; high ambitions; grudges against coworkers, and unsatisfied wage compensation.

Second, we established surveillance during and after working hours to understand the subject’s schedule and movements, and more importantly to see if visits to a certain location were recurrent.

Third, we continued to monitor the subject’s (and several other employees’) computer and network activity at work, including keystrokes, insertion of peripheral devices, emails, telephone calls, etc. (as per the client’s internal employee policy).

With patience and perseverance, our professional team identified several patterns in the subject’s behaviour that clearly pointed to a breach of trust, violation of company policies, and theft of intellectual property.

We interviewed the subject and presented the evidence. The subject confessed and disclosed wrongdoing including details of stolen and sold information. We presented our final report to the client with all our findings, which included detailed description of the investigation, exhibits, pictures, video evidence, and recommendations on security improvements, policy changes, employee verification processes, internal computer and network security, and perimeter security.

Results – Our client terminated the employee and has taken steps based on our recommendations. MADPI GLOBAL has since established a trusted business relationship with the client and has been referred other clients on several occasions.