A U.S. District Judge in Connecticut recently issued an injunction against a former employee of Amphenol Corp and his new employer, TE Connectivity, Ltd, despite the lack of any evidence of competition in breach of his non-compete agreement. The decision in Amphenol v Paul, Civ. No. 3:12cv543 (D. Conn. Nov. 9, 2012), involved a former business unit director of Amphenol who had been responsible for product development, marketing and sales of Amphenol’s electronic and fiber optic connectors. He signed a non-compete agreement which prohibited work on any competitive product that was in development during the 12 months preceding his termination of employment or about which he had received confidential information.
The employee joined TE Connectivity as a vice president of a business unit that did not compete with Amphenol. Amphenol discovered, however, that he had forwarded 2,000 work-related emails to his personal account before resigning and that he had taken other business files with him. Although the Court found that the employee technically was not competing with Amphenol in his new role, the Court determined that there were “indicia” of a risk of unfair competition. The Court therefore ordered TE Connectivity to distribute a written memo reminding its managers that the employee was to have no involvement with competing products, to search its electronic systems to confirm that the employee did not upload any of Amphenol’s files, and to place a filter on the employee’s email account to ensure that he was firewalled from any competitive activities. The Court also placed specific limits on the former employee’s scope of work (including restrictions on participating in the pending acquisition of a competing company, a ban on contacting former Amphenol employees, and an order not to work in the area of connectors or interconnectors) and ordered him not to use or disclose confidential information.
The court’s decision serves as an example of creative injunctive relief that may be useful in similar contexts.