In May 2011 the High Court heard Space Airconditioning Plc’s case against (1) Mr Adrian Guy and (2) Smith Brothers Stores Limited in a claim that alleged extraction, retention and use of confidential information by the first defendant, Mr Adrian Guy, and alleged inducement by the second defendant, Smith Brothers Stores Limited of confidential information.
The claimant is a distributor of air conditioning products manufactured by Daikin Airconditioning UK Limited and Daikin Europe NV (“Daikin”). Mr Guy was employed by the claimant as a sales manager He resigned from the claimant and started looking for more work. His contract with the claimant contained no restrictive covenant preventing him from working for a competitor stopping him from soliciting with the claimant’s customers after his employment we concluded.
The claimant’s case was that the defendants, in conspiracy with Daikin UK, were responsible for (as stated in a witness statement) a “wholesale raid on our customers using our confidential information“. The action was brought to protect that information.
The hearing lasted for 5 days and Mrs Justice Proudman heard evidence dealing with the claimant’s prices lists, discount structure, transactions etc. and the Defendant’s alleged use of the same.
The court was unable to find any hard evidence of, or a pattern suggesting, misuse of trade secrets. In these circumstances Justice Proudman did not apply the Faccenda v. Fowler test. She found that that the claimant has not made out its case that Mr Guy breached his contractual duties by extracting confidential information also the claimant has not proven that’s the case that Mr Guy used discount information unlawfully in providing quotations on behalf of the defendant company. In those circumstances the relevant claims against the second defendant also failed.
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