Company Files Trade Secrets Case Over Critical Incident Mapping Tech

Critical Response Group, Inc (CRG) has filed a complaint against Geocom, Inc for copyright infringement and violating a mutual non-disclosure agreement (MNDA). They allege that Geocom abused the MNDA the parties signed to steal CRG’s trade secrets and product development, and because of this Geocom was able to underbid and win the contract for critical incident mapping for the Iowa Department of Education.

As detailed in the complaint, CRG and Geocom are direct competitors in the business of improving communication  and  collaboration  between  first  responders during critical incidents. In the summer of 2020, Geocom reached out to CRG suggesting a potential collaboration on issues of mutual interest.

In February 2021, executives at both companies communicated about such a collaboration, and a month later an MNDA was drafted and signed. This document details what items are protected, and that “​​each party agrees it will not modify, reverse engineer, decompile, create other works from, or disassemble any software programs contained in the Confidential Information” without prior written consent. 

Throughout the collaboration, CRG provided Geocom with confidential materials as required by their mutual client, though the complaint alleges that Geocom consistently pressed for more materials than as necessary for the contract. CRG states that they began to suspect foul play in a September 2021 video call. 

In June 2022, the  Iowa Department of Administrative Services, acting on behalf of the Iowa Department of Education, requested companies produce bids on a contract for critical incident mapping. Both CRG and Geocom submitted proposals, and Geocom won the contract with graphics CRG felt were suspiciously similar to those they submitted. The complaint implies that Geocom won the contract because they were offering an equivalent product to CRG but at a cheaper price. CRG appealed the contract, but the appeal has, as of the time of this writing, yet to be resolved.

Even after CRG sent Geocom a cease and desist letter, CRG alleges that Geocom has continued to use assets derivative of those protected in the MNDA to profit. Their suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages as determined by the court, an injunction to prevent Geocom from further using and profiting from protected CRG assets, and reasonable accommodation for attorney’s fees. 

The complaint was filed in the Southern District of Iowa, where the Iowa Department of Education is situated. CRG is represented by Alan Ostergren and Robert Clarida.