Market research and consulting leader Parks Residential Systems Research, dba Parks Associates, announced the settlement of its legal case against Interpret LLC and two former employees.

The settlement, reached in May, was consummated after extensive negotiations just prior to the scheduled trial date of June 26, according to the announcement.

Parks Associates filed the lawsuit in early 2021 to recover confidential and proprietary information it alleged was stolen by two former employees, Brett Sappington and Brad Russell, for the benefit of their new employer, Interpret. Interpret, a provider of custom market research services, is led by Andrew Wing, Grant Johnson and Michael Cai, another former Parks Associates employee. Other previous Parks Associates employees at Interpret include Parks Associates’ former President Stuart Sikes and former Research Director Harry Wang, among others.

The lawsuit alleged numerous claims including breach of applicable confidentiality agreements, violations of the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and tortious interference. Based on forensic analyses performed, Parks Associates’ allegations included the alleged taking of Parks Associates’ proprietary research, analysis, data, processes, marketing plans, business strategies, trade secrets, intellectual property, techniques and technical information.

In a statement provided to SDM, Grant Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Interpret, said, “Interpret has denied and continues to deny any liability for the claims alleged in the lawsuit and was glad to compromise and settle the lawsuit.”

According to the announcement, the final settlement included the defendants' representation that all materials, including computer files, that may have been taken from Parks Associates had been deleted and/or destroyed, and the defendants’ agreement that they will not, in the future, use or distribute any such materials.

“At Parks Associates, we prioritize the security and confidentiality of our intellectual property, trade secrets, and all proprietary information and confidential data,” stated Tricia Parks, founder of Parks Associates. “This incident has reinforced our commitment to enhancing our internal controls, data protection measures, and programs to safeguard our assets.”

Parks continued, “This was an incredible breach of trust leaving us with no option but to pursue legal action to protect our business. For over 37 years, we have built Parks Associates on the foundation of integrity and excellence and will move forward in the same manner.”

Founded in 1986, Parks Associates provides business intelligence and research services through its proprietary methodologies developed over decades, including quarterly surveys of 10,000 internet households.