WorldVentures sue Ariix & MaVie over unfair competition
It seems WorldVentures has finally exhausted the “access to travel discounts” pyramid model – with the company looking to expand into nutrition.
According to a recently filed lawsuit, mid last year WorldVentures executed a mutual confidentiality agreement with Abboud Barakat and his distribution company, Advanced Wellness Solutions.
WorldVentures claims this agreement saw Barakat receive ‘confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets‘.
As defined in the agreement, this included WorldVentures’ customers, suppliers, third parties, products, services, supplier information, and
business, marketing, development and sales and other commercial strategies.
The agreement stipulated Barakat and Advanced Wellness Solutions would not use the received information and secrets.
Ultimately the deal fell through. And in a lawsuit filed on June 4th, WorldVentures allege Barakat used its confidential information to benefit Ariix and the launch of MaVie.
Abboud Barakat is CEO and founder of the recently launched MaVie MLM company.
Through Advanced Wellness Solutions, Barakat is believed to also supply Ariix with various products.
WorldVentures also name Jonathan McKillip (Texas, US), Kyle Lowe (Texas, US), Anthony Fitzgerald (Australia), Michelle Siddy (UK), Kemble Morgan (South Africa) and Daniel Audet (Canada) as defendants.
The company claims the six individuals had “written employment agreements” and ‘all previously worked with WorldVentures or an affiliated entity‘.
- Jonathan McKillip was President of WorldVentures Marketing International until his resignation on December 31st, 2017
- Kyle Lowe was Senior Vice President of Global Sales & International Expansion until his resignation on February 13th, 2018
- Anthony Fitzgerald was Asia-Pacific Sales Director until WorldVentures terminated his employment contract on March 9th, 2018
- Michelle Siddy was Director of Sales & Marketing for Northern Europe until her resignation on August 31st, 2017
- Kemble Morgan was Country Manager for Australia and Asia Pacific Sales Director until WorldVentures terminated his employment contract on April 9th, 2018
- Daniel Audet was International Operations Consultant until his resignation on November 30th, 2016
WorldVentures claim that the six defendants now allegedly work for, consult with are associated with or represent MaVie, Ariix, Advanced Wellness Solutions and/or Abboud Barakat.
The basis of WorldVenture’s lawsuit is unfair competition arising from the use of its trade secrets and disclosed confidential information.
Advanced and Barakat are using WorldVentures’ confidential information as part of a business association with ARIIX and MAVIE who are competitors of WorldVentures.
MAVIE, Advanced and Barakat have recruited ARIIX as part of the enterprise and conspiracy to use Plaintiffs’ confidential information and to unfairly compete against the Plaintiffs.
Advanced, Barakat and ARIIX unfairly recruited current and former employees of Plaintiffs to assist them in the development of their new competitive business enterprise — MAVIE.
In addition to former employees, WorldVentures accuse Ariix and MaVie of also targeting their top affiliates.
On the business side of things WorldVentures brings up MaVie’s travel discount portal. Ariix too have recently launched their own travel discount portal.
MAVIE and ARIIX are working together in a joint enterprise and conspiracy to unfairly compete against WorldVentures in the lifestyle membership industry.
If not stopped, they will continue to solicit and induce employees and independent sales representatives of WorldVentures to breach their contracts with WorldVentures and to utilize their knowledge of WorldVentures’ confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets to further the conspiracy and to further unfairly compete with WorldVentures.
As part of their lawsuit WorldVentures filed for an ex-parte Temporary Restraining Order.
The TRO was granted on June 5th, with the court observing ‘there is sufficient evidence to support the issuance of this Order‘.
From the evidence presented, this Court concludes that WorldVentures will likely succeed on the merits of WorldVentures’ claims at the trial of this matter.
The granted TRO prohibited Ariix, MaVie and the named individual defendants from
- using any confidential information or trade secret of WorldVentures for any purpose
- using any information in the line of sponsorship, downline activity report or genealogy of WorldVentures for any purpose
- interfering with the contracts or agreements by and between WorldVentures and any of WorldVentures’ employees, Representatives, vendors, business associates, business consultants and all other persons or entities in privity with WorldVentures
- soliciting or recruiting WorldVentures’ Representatives, or any person who has been a Representative of WorldVentures during the last twelve (12) months, for any multilevel marketing or network marketing business opportunity
- interfering with WorldVentures’ existing and prospective business relationships with WorldVentures’ Representatives and employees accepting any registration or enrolling as a distributor or representative WorldVentures’ Representatives, or any person who has been a Representative of WorldVentures during the last twelve (12) months, for any multilevel marketing or network marketing business opportunity
- paying any commission, bonus or other compensation to any Representative of WorldVentures or any person who has been a Representative of WorldVentures during the last twelve (12) months
- allowing any Representative of WorldVentures or any person who has been a Representative of WorldVentures during the last twelve (12) months to use any website owned or operated by WorldVentures or any of their affiliates to promote any multilevel marketing business
- disparaging WorldVentures or any of WorldVentures’ employees, officers, managers, and Representatives and
- falsely representing to WorldVentures’ Representatives, the advantages, characteristics and nature of any goods products or services sold or distributed by Defendants through any multilevel marketing company
The TRO was issued until June 19th, upon which a preliminary injunction hearing was scheduled.
The June 19th hearing took place as scheduled. Following a full day of witness testimony, the court will re-convene for a second hearing on June 26th.
The current TRO in place has been extended until July 3rd (pending the outcome of the preliminary injunction hearing if resolved earlier).
Update June 27th 2018 – The preliminary injunction hearing was held as scheduled on June 26th.
No orders were made, with the hearing continued to June 27th.
Pending the outcome of the continued hearing, we should have another update later today.
Update June 28th 2018 – Second day of the hearing has come and gone. It appears decisions have been made however as of yet they haven’t been made public.
The minute entry for the continued hearing states ‘a formal order will follow‘.
Update June 29th 2018 – As per a June 28th order, the TRO with respect to MaVie, Ariix and Advanced Wellness Solutions has been dissolved.
The TRO against the remaining individual defendants, which is due to expire on July 3rd, remains in place.