Genius Sports wins DK Injunction against FirstPlay for staff poaching & IP encroachment

Genius Sports has won a Danish injunction order against rival data supplier FirstPlay A/S related to the duplication of its business model, poaching of staff and theft of business-sensitive information.

The Copenhagen filed injunction accused FirstPlay of unethical business practices, poaching Genius Sports talent to acquire IP secrets and further business-sensitive data in order to establish a new sports data enterprise.

The Copenhagen court had been asked to preside over whether FirstPlay had purposely targeted poaching Genius Sports staff based in Sofia (Bulgaria) working in the firm’s data processing centre.

During 2018, Genius Sports had expanded its Sofia systems capacity by acquiring ‘InPlay Sports Data’ – a unit it believes was purposely targeted by FirstPlay seeking to poach staff in order to secure sensitive business information related to its sports portfolio and pricing models.

Genius Sports backed its accusations by presenting emails sent to its Sofia staff seeking ‘knowledge of trade secrets/business-related sensitive data’.

Ruling in favour of Genius Sports, the Copenhagen court judged that FirstPlay’s actions had deliberately resulted in a ‘talent drain’, breaching the business code of the Danish Marketing Practices Act.

As a result, the Copenhagen court deems that FirstPlay a Denmark registered enterprise cannot ‘directly or indirectly to carry on activities that involve collection, processing and distribution of sports data’ for a period of 18-months.

Genius Sports has praised the court’s judgement detailing the result as a vindication for ‘ethical business practices’ and transparency of services. Furthermore, the sports data supplier has confirmed that it will undertake similar court injunction proceedings against FirstPlay within Bulgarian courts.

Meanwhile, FirstPlay management has confirmed that it will launch an appeal against the injunction which it believes is unnecessary and overstated as only six employees had been recruited from Genius Sports.

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