Curry Popeck

Firm stops former employee using its intellectual property

A health care solutions company has been granted an interim injunction preventing a former employee using one of its software programs.

The company owned the copyright in a program designed to assist child fostering agencies with accounts, client management and similar functions. The employee had worked as its sales director, until he left without giving notice.

The company alleged that the employee had made a copy of the software program shortly after he left and had enlisted its designer to adapt it so that he could exploit it for his own benefit.

He then sold, or attempted to sell, the adapted program to the company’s customers.

The company obtained an interim injunction restraining the employee from using or dealing with the program.

At a further hearing, the employee claimed that the company had misled the court about the status of the program’s designer, suggesting that he was an employee when in fact he was an independent contractor.

The court held that the designer’s employment status was not important because, either way, he had been paid for his work and the intellectual property rights remained with the company. There was therefore no reason to discharge the injunction.

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Case featured:
Firm stops former employee using its intellectual property
[2017] EWHC 2964 (Ch)
Ch D (Catherine Newman QC) 22/11/2017