Business protection


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Business protection

  1. 1. Business Protection
  2. 2. The need for Business Protection The need for Business Protection We all value our businesses and work hard every day to build them. But what “ if the fruits of that hard work go out of the door with a departing employee, Director or partner? What if the fruits of that Competition is healthy. It offers choice and can help raise standards. But what hard work go if the competition is unlawful?out of the door We all use computers and the internet in with a our daily work and more and more busi- nesses are using social networking sites departing as a business tool. We all recognise the benefits of information technology. But employee, there are risks too. What if a departing individual removes confidential informa- Director or tion (such as a customer list) by emailing partner? it to a personal account or by down- loading it onto a memory stick? Can this “ activity be detected? Can the informa- tion be retrieved and the individual pre- vented from using it? What if business is, or business opportu- nities are, diverted before the employ- ment or other contractual relationship ends? What if restrictive covenants are breached? What if a team is poached? Prettys’ Business Protection team can help you effectively address these issues and related ones.
  3. 3. What is protectable? Depending on the facts and the wording of contractual documents, businesses may be able to protect the following: • their trade secrets or confidential information, including chemical for- mulae or formulations, mixes or recipes, customer lists and databas- es, maturing business opportunities and internal financial information (such as management accounts, sales forecasts, profit projections and so on), • intellectual property rights, “ • their goodwill or customer connec- tionBusinesses may • • the stability of their workforce their business reputation (e.g. from be able to trade libel or malicious or injurious falsehoods) protect...theirtrade secrets or confidential information, including chemical formulae or formulations... “
  4. 4. Prevention is better than cure Prevention is better than cure While this may be an old adage, when it comes to business protection, the cure can far outweigh the cost of the preven- tion. We can assist you in protecting your business interests in the following ways: • reviewing your contractual documen- tation to ensure that confidentiality clauses, post termination restrictions and other provisions (such as “gar- den leave” clauses) are present and are appropriately drafted; • reviewing how your business han- dles secret or confidential informa- tion; • monitoring activities; • identifying telltale signs of wrongdo- ing. Sometimes legal action is necessary. We are here to help with that too. However, where the necessary foundations have been put in place the likelihood of such action being successful is far greater. “ Sometimes legal action is necessary. We are here to help with that too. However, where the necessary foundations have been put in place the likelihood of such actionbeing successful is far greater. “
  5. 5. Investigations and Strategy Acting quickly is important if effective legal action is to be taken. However, knowing what to look for and how best to go about finding it are vital. Care needs to be taken not to act unlawfully. The confidentiality of the investigation needs to be maintained and, where electronic evidence is to be sought, the integrity of that evidence needs to be preserved. We can: “ • help you plan and undertake investi- gations; • assist in the appointment of comput- Where er forensic experts; electronic • evaluate and advise on the evidence gathered. evidence is to Deciding on the best strategy at an earlybe sought, the stage is key to success. What is the best integrity strategy will depend on a number of matters, including the strength of the evi- of that dence, the nature of the wrongdoing and the cost of taking legal action. information needs to be preserved. “
  6. 6. Business Protection Legal action Where legal action is decided upon it usually involves making an expedited application to the High Court in London for injunctive and ancillary relief. We have considerable experience of making such applications, including applications: • for search and seizure orders (i.e. an order permitting the claimant’s solicitors to search for the claimant’s property and to seize it); • for doorstep delivery up orders (i.e. an order requiring the defendant to immediately deliver up the claimant’s secret or confidential information); • for freezing orders (i.e. an order pre- venting the dissipation of the defen- “ dant’s assets); • for computer imaging orders (i.e. an order permitting the claimant to take Where legal a digital image of the hard drive of the defendant’s computer); action is • for confidentiality injunctions (i.e. todecided upon it prevent the defendant from using or disclosing the claimant’s secret or usually • confidential information); for “springboard” injunctions (i.e. to involves cancel out an unlawful head start gained by the defendant); making an • for “garden leave” injunctions (i.e. to expedited • enforce a period of garden leave); to enforce restrictive covenants application to (whether in Contracts of Employment, Partnership or the High Consultancy Agreements, Court... Shareholder Agreements, Sale and Purchase Agreements or other com- “ mercial agreements). We also advise on the availability of financial remedies, such as damages or an account of profits.
  7. 7. Business Protection Team Nick leads the Business Protection team involving: and heads the Cambridge office. He qualified as a solicitor in 1987 and sub- • the misuse of trade secrets and confi- sequently founded Hewitsons’ employ- dential information; ment law practice in Cambridge. • the enforcement of post-termination Nick left Hewitsons in early 2007 and restrictions;Nick SayerPartner helped co-found Charles Russell’ Cambridge office. • team moves.Tel: 01223 598660 He joined Prettys in January 2010. Nick’s work in this field has covered Nick specialises in all aspects of numerous business sectors, including employment law, both contentious and recruitment (where he has been particu- non-contentious. He has a special larly active), financial services, profes- interest in business protection matters sional services, packaging, ceramics, and has established a strong reputation and distribution and logistics. in High Court employment litigation Matthew qualified as a solicitor at • fiduciary duties; Field Fisher Waterhouse in London in 1995. • obligations of confidentiality; Matthew joined Prettys in 1997 and is • post-termination restrictions. now a partner and the Head of Employment Services. With Nick Sayer, Matthew is the author Matthew Cole of a Chapter on restrictive covenants Partner He advises employers, as well as senior and confidential information which is to Tel: 01473 298221 executives, on a range of employment appear in a forthcoming book. issues, including: Roland joined Prettys in 1991. He has His recent cases include: practised as a commercial litigator since qualifying as a solicitor in 1986 and is • an injunction freezing the assets of a now head of Prettys substantial Dispute financial broker; Resolution team. • a £5m shareholder dispute; Roland acts for national and internationalRoland Sharp clients across a broad range of • a £1m warranty claim.Partner business 01473 298234
  8. 8. Fiona undertook her training and quali- Fiona acts mainly for employers on both fied at a regional law firm before mov- contentious and non-contentious matters. ing at 6 months PQE to the Ipswich Her recent work involves advising on the office of a national law firm to spe- enforcement of post-termination restric- cialise in employment law. tions and confidentiality obligations. Fiona joined Prettys in July 2007 andFiona McMutriePartner became a Partner in Services in May 2008.Tel: 01245 295295 Tom trained with Prettys and qualified and disposals, mergers and joint ven- in 2000. Tom became a Partner in tures. He acts for a variety of banks in Corporate Services in May 2008. preparing and perfecting security in connection with Tom has experience in a wide range of transaction based lending. Tom also corporate, commercial and banking deals with commercial contracts andTom Sleight matters. He has acted on acquisitions regularly prepares and reviews existingPartner (including trade acquisitions, terms and conditions of sale and management buy ins and buy outs)Tel: 01245 295282 Nuala studied for her LLB law degree at the University of Southampton. She then undertook her LPC at the College of Law in London before commencing her training contract at a City law firm. Nuala qualified as a solicitor in March 2007 and moved to another firm inNuala Murphy London before joining Prettys as solicitor in Employment Services inTel: 01245 295295 2007.
  9. 9. Elm House Number One Regus House25 Elm Street Legg Street 1010 Cambourne Business ParkIpswich Chelmsford CambourneSuffolk Essex CambridgeIP1 2AD CM1 1JS CB23 6DPt 01473 232121 t 01245 295295 t 01223 597820f 01473 230002 f 01245 295299 f 01223