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Protecting company data on social networks

There's an on-going conflict between protecting companies’ commercial information and the widespread use of social networks

Harrison Clark Rickerbys, on behalf of a renowned recruitment agency, Executive Network Sales Limited (ENS), has successfully obtained an order for an injunction and disclosure of LinkedIn accounts against three former employees of the agency and their new employer.

The former employees used LinkedIn for their day to day work, contacting ENS clients and candidates and setting up LinkedIn groups. Each of the former employees had signed undertakings acknowledging that the LinkedIn profiles, and contacts within them, belong to ENS. Each former employee’s contract of employment also contained several restrictive covenants preventing them from poaching former clients and candidates.

Upon resignation, the former employees joined a competitor and continued to use the LinkedIn accounts, which ENS allege was in order to solicit clients and candidates. With ENS’ assistance, Harrison Clark Rickerbys gathered evidence to establish whether the former employees had misused ENS’ confidential LinkedIn information and had breached the restrictive covenants set out in their contracts of employment in support of the injunction.

ENS then made an application to the High Court, Chancery Division, for an injunction and order in respect of breach of restrictive covenants and undertakings, misuse of confidential information and breach of database rights in the LinkedIn accounts.

Adam Finch, partner and head of the Cheltenham commercial litigation team, said:

“We are delighted that ENS obtained the order and the defendants were also required to make a contribution towards our client’s costs of the hearing. The case highlights the importance of restrictive covenants and taking steps to ensure that any databases, such as LinkedIn accounts, are properly protected.

“This was a complex case and I was very glad to have the support of an excellent team, including senior associates Jenny Raymond and Gillie Abbotts-Jones, whose expertise and attention to detail were invaluable.”

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