Data Analytics Co. Splunk Sues Cribl and Founder for Intellectual Property Theft

According to a civil case filed late last week, data analytics titan Splunk Inc. has accused Cribl. Inc. and its CEO and co-founder Clint Sharp, a former Splunk employee, of misappropriation of Splunk’s trademarks and patents.

The 85-page complaint filed in the Northern District of California, Splunk and Cribl’s home district, alleges that Cribl illegally piggybacked on Splunk’s labor and intellectual property without permission and without regard for ethics.

The filing explains that 2003-founded Splunk “pioneered the machine data analytics industry,” and offers software applications “in diverse fields ranging from information security to manufacturing to business analytics,” including its customizable flagship product Splunk Enterprise. Its software products are protected by valid U.S. Copyright Registrations, the complaint adds.

Cribl is a 2017-established company founded by three former Splunk employees including Sharp, the filing says. Further, its software products allegedly “leverage Splunk’s data platform,” and were built using intentionally misappropriated Splunk source code.

Since that initial and alleged misuse, Cribl has purportedly taken further large volumes of confidential material from Splunk and used it to compete unfairly against Splunk. Among other misconduct, Cribl allegedly solicited important technical and business documents from departing Splunk employees, while its products tread on Splunk’s patent rights and use Splunk software in a manner that willfully infringes its copyrights.

The defendants’ actions, the filing says, forced Splunk to terminate Cribl as a partner and now, to file suit. The complaint states more than a dozen claims for relief under federal trademark and patent protection laws, as well as for breach of contract, business torts, and under California’s Unfair Competition Law.

Splunk is represented by Fish & Richardson P.C.