Restraint of Trade: APT Technology Pty Ltd v Aladesaye [2014] FCA 966

 

 APT Technology Pty Ltd v Aladesaye [2014] FCA 966

Mr Aladesaye commenced employment with APT Technology Pty Ltd (‘APT’) in September 2008 as an engineer and the sole salesperson for APT’s Adelaide branch. In May 2014 Mr Aladesaye resigned. During the notice period, APT found out that Mr Aladesaye had set up a rival business, was stealing confidential information and that he had been doing so for a period of 18 months whilst still employed by APT.

When APT became aware of this, it commenced proceedings against him to restrain him from continuing to solicit APT’s clients and disclosing confidential information or intellectual property belonging to APT.

Decision

Despite the fact that there was no express post-employment restraint of trade clause in the employment contract, the Court granted an injunction, pending final hearing, restraining Mr Aladesaye from soliciting APT’s clients and using confidential information for his own advantage. The Court found that Mr Aladesaye had breached the equitable duty of confidence owed by him to APT and that he had:

pursued his own financial interests without any regard to his responsibilities to his employer.”

Mr Aladesaye was restrained on the basis of the “springboard principle”, which prevents a person who has obtained the information in confidence from using it as a spring-board for activities detrimental to the owner of the confidential information.

This decision demonstrates that despite the absence of a restraint of trade clause, the Court will still protect the legitimate interests of an employer if it is under attack from a former employee. 

* PCC Lawyers are a team of employment practitioners based in Sydney, with many years of combined knowledge and experience in workplace law, industrial relations, workplace investigations and training.  They provide a high standard of excellence and an exceptional level of personal service to a variety of clients in the Sydney metropolitan area, Central Coast, regional NSW and interstate.