Crocs Suing Former Employee for Using Trade Secrets

(Lead image via Pymnts)

Crocs has filed a lawsuit against former employee Kellen McCarvel and his new company, Joybees, alleging the theft of trade secrets and their use in the production of competing products, per Footwear News. Kellen McCarvel is the son of John McCarvel, a former Crocs CEO who left the company in 2014.

The lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in the District of Colorado, claims that McCarvel, who previously worked for Crocs for over six years, left the company with confidential business information and access to a Crocs email account.

“McCarvel stole those documents and emails by downloading them onto a personal USB drive from a folder on his laptop he aptly named ‘Take,’ which he then took when leaving Crocs the next day,” the suit stated. “Then, McCarvel used the stolen documents to build a rival shoe company, Joybees, to compete against Crocs.”

According to McCarvel’s LinkedIn, he spent six years at Crocs as merchandise manager in Latin America before joining Joybees in 2018 as CEO.

Crocs alleges that McCarvel intended to utilize the stolen data in connection with his father’s bid in a court-ordered bankruptcy auction for the assets of U.S.A. Dawgs, Inc. — a competitor of Crocs.

The lawsuit specifically accuses McCarvel of using Crocs’ proprietary specifications, standards, test, and audit methods related to shoe performance and materials.

Furthermore, Crocs claims that Joybees has also hired other former Crocs employees with knowledge of the company’s proprietary information. The lawsuit asserts that McCarvel and Joybees’ actions constitute an unfair and illegal attempt to capitalize on the success of the Crocs brand.

Crocs had been in a legal dispute with U.S.A. Dawgs, Inc. — the McCarvel-owned competitor — in the past. The court deemed that U.S.A. Dawgs, Inc., as well as Double Diamond Distribution, were liable of patent infringement. Crocs won $6 million and $55,000 in damages.

The classic clogs company also sued Walmart in 2021 for trademark infringement. The case was settled in September 2022.

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