Springboard injunctions in employee competition claims
Springboard injunctions in employee competition claims

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Springboard injunctions in employee competition claims
  • Misuse of confidential information
  • Whether other breaches of contract or torts can be relied on
  • Limited duration and ambit

Springboard injunctions in employee competition claims

In some cases an employer will seek an injunction to protect himself against the activities of a former employee who, before the termination of his employment, breached a restrictive covenant or misused the employer’s confidential information and has, as a result of that misuse, gained an unfair competitive advantage over his former employer.

An injunction which seeks to negate any unfair competitive advantage which might be gained through misuse of an employer's confidential information, through breach of contract or the commission of a tort, is often called a 'springboard' injunction—the springboard refers to the employee’s conduct allowing him to 'spring ahead' to get a head start in his attempts to compete.

The injunction may be granted even though the relevant information has come into the public domain, as was first explained in the seminal case of Terrapin v Builders' Supply Co (Hayes) [1960] RPC 128 (also reported at [1967] RPC 375) (not available in Lexis®Library):

'…the essence of this branch of the law…is that a person who has obtained information in confidence is not allowed to use it as a springboard for activities detrimental to the person who made the confidential communication, and springboard it remains even when all the features have been published or can be ascertained by actual inspection by any member of the public.'

The principle of a springboard injunction

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