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Zachary
Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3814
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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Hello, I have a client that is changing his current recruitment

Resolved Question:

Hello,

I have a client that is changing his current recruitment software provider to us. He is fully paid up with the current supplier.

The problem is that the current supplier is not releasing his data so it can be imported into our system. They use an industry-standard database (we have taken a copy) so all we need is a password XXXXX access our copy but they refuse. I suspect they want to force us to pay them to release it.

Is this legal?

Thanks,
Tom
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zachary replied 2 years ago.
Hi Tom,
The answer to your question depends on who the information belongs to. From first blush, it appears that the customer provided information to the prior supplier on which the supplier then designed the application. If the supplier has not added any of their own analysis or work to the information you are seeking, then the customer has a claim to it as property and is legally entitled to direct the prior supplier to turn over the information. If the supplier refused, there would be a right to sue in high court (or in county court if the value of the damages is small). The customer can sue the prior supplier for conversion. Your company could potentially have a suit against the prior supplier for tortious inteference with a contract. I suggest having the customer contact the supplier and demand that they turn over the information to you. Also, I suggest sending a formal letter requesting the information and referencing that they are not legally entitled to keep the information once they have been directed by the customer to turn the information over to you and could be exposing themselves to potential legal liability. Hopefully the implied threat of legal action will motivate them to act.

Please let me know if this answers your question and whether you have any further questions regarding this matter that I might answer.

Best Regards,
Zachary D. Norris
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Zachery, thanks for the answer.

'From first blush, it appears that the customer provided information to the prior supplier on which the supplier then designed the application.'

The only thing to mention is that as this was an 'off-the-shelf' package no designing of an application took place as it was ready-made.

I'm assuming this doesn't change or cause you to add to your answer?
Expert:  Zachary replied 2 years ago.
No. That really solidifies my answer even more. I represent a company that is a software vendor. When they face similar situations as the predicament you are in, the issue always turns on whether the prior supplier provided any analysis to the information provided by the customer which they could claim as a work product. If the application is truly off the shelf, then they have no claim to the data you need and it belongs to the customer. Is the only thing you need a password?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No, I've taken a copy of the database and it is the copy that is needed to be accessed.

As it is an industry standard database (Sybase SQLAnywhere) the data can be retrieved using tools such as Excel - but however, you do need the dba password XXXXX do so!
Expert:  Zachary replied 2 years ago.
So, essentially, you have an application which contains your customers information but that has been locked by the prior supplier by a password. I recommend asking your customer to demand the password, and then follow that up with a formal letter with the demand. Then if they refuse to do it from there, you could file suit. However, that may be a more expensive proposition than simply starting from scratch.

Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3814
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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