Know how to silence an ex-colleague

Whether it’s an angry ex-colleague, former client or ex-director – if your business has valuable confidential or contractual information that it needs to protect, these people will inevitably know about it, writes Richard Nicholas, an IT lawyer with Browne Jacobson LLP.

But in the event that the person leaves or comes to the end of their contract with you – how do you stop them from disclosing information about your product or company to other suppliers?

Firstly, there are practical legal steps, such as restrictive covenants and contractual provisions, to consider. Beyond the contract, there are also technical solutions that you can use to prevent the loss of intellectual property (IP), proprietary data and your business’s ‘know-how.’

But where these legal and technical safeguards are not in place, or are penetrated, then the courts will intervene. Occasionally, this will be with a fairly stringent perpetual injunction, prohibiting that person from, ever*, disclosing that information. *This happened in a recent High Court case involving a golf trolley device.

However to get such a prescriptive remedy, you would need to:

1)    Act fast,

2)    Demonstrate a real threat of your information being disclosed; and

3)    Demonstrate that other remedies will not suffice.

Of course, getting the right IP and contractual protection in place before you reach a dispute can significantly improve your chances of a favourable outcome.

Tuesday 10th May 2011
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