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Confidential Information / Liability of New Employer

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Thanks to Sarah Russell of Slater & Gordon for preparing this case summary

Is copying your employer's Sage database and using it in the employment of a competitor actionable as a breach of confidence?

Yes, if the information it contains is actually used, according to the Patents County Court in Pintorex Limited v Keyvanfar.

Mr Keyvanfar copied the Claimant's database and loaded it onto a laptop owned by his new employer, Parax Office Limited ('Parax'). Mr Keyvanfar then used the pricing information it contained to approach two of the Claimant's clients, and undercut the Claimant's prices.

Parax was held to be liable for the breaches of confidence by Mr Keyvanfar, including those pre-dating Mr Keyvanfar's employment, on the basis that he was acting to further Parax's interests as Parax's agent, and that Parax had sufficient knowledge of what was going on to be jointly liable.

The Third Defendant, the sole Director of Parax, could also have been jointly liable for the breaches had he had a 'common design' to commit them, or 'dishonestly' ignored what was going on, but it was held he did not know and so could not be jointly liable.