TRAFALGAR House is seeking an injunction against Roy Tazzyman, the former chief executive of its engineering subsidiary Davy International, to prevent him using confidential information in his new business.
Mr Tazzyman left Davy last September to become managing director of rival VAI Industries, the Dorset subsidiary of the Austrian engineering giant VAI Technologie.
The High Court writ issued by Trafalgar House seeks to prevent Mr Tazzyman from destroying or passing on confidential computer disks and documents which Trafalgar is trying to recover.
It also seeks damages for alleged breach of confidentiality by Mr Tazzyman, Graham Howe, Marion Howe and VAI Industries. Mrs Howe also works for VAI Industries.
A Trafalgar House spokesman said legal proceedings had been started but the company could not comment further.
Mr Tazzyman, who was made a CBE in the 1995 New Years Honours List, was unavailable for comment.