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My wife and I have run a company for the last 6 years. Unfortunately one of our former employees opened a website using our logo, pictures, and referring to himself as if he were still our employee. So he is using our branding to direct potential customers to him. (Is this considered Phishing?)

We are based in Ireland, and I contacted his hosting company, but I don't think they will block his domain/website.

What should I do in this scenario?

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    Contact an actual lawyer rather than asking advice from random people on the internet. – ratchet freak Dec 18 '15 at 10:42
  • What you are saying is like, buy a book instead of google it. :) – peterpeterson Dec 18 '15 at 10:57
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    @peterpeterson The pictures and logo, I assume you have not given him permission at any point to use them for any other purpose other than to help your company, if you have not, it can be classed as either copyright infringment as the photos have been used against your consent commerically and as possible theft of clients which as the way you have described it is what he is doing. – Dansmith Dec 18 '15 at 12:16
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    It's not phishing. Phishing has the goal of stealing users' personal information. Rather, it is trademark infringement. – phoog Dec 18 '15 at 20:19
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What you are describing is not "phishing." It does, however, violate all sorts of laws against copyright and trademark infringement. Furthermore you would have compelling claims against the former employee for various torts – e.g., breach of trust.

The prudent course of action in this scenario would be to contact a lawyer assess the value of your claims and consider suing the former employee for damages and injunctions. If the potential damages (and the ability to collect them) are high enough you might be able to retain a lawyer's services on contingency.

At the very least you could send the former employee a "cease and desist" letter. Ideally that should be drafted by a lawyer, but there is plenty of boilerplate and samples to be found online if you lack the money to properly defend your business.

  • what if the employee has no money? – peterpeterson Dec 18 '15 at 14:18
  • @peterpeterson Then you won't be able to collect damages. In that case a cease-and-desist letter may be adequate. You could get an injunction from a court, and if he continued to flaunt the injunction then he would be subject to penalty by the court, which could include prison time. – feetwet Dec 18 '15 at 15:50
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    @peterpeterson if he has no money then an award for damages would force him into bankruptcy, the prospect of which may be enough to motivate him to stop. It doesn't help much with a lawyer's contingency-fee arrangement, however. – phoog Dec 18 '15 at 20:22

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