The Dyson group has been granted an injunction preventing one of its top engineers working for a rival company for 12 months.
The case involved Dyson’s research and development company, Dyson Technology Ltd, which is developing the company’s electric car.
It employed engineer Pierre Pellerey, who has a background in research related to electric cars, to work on the project.
His contract contained post-employment restrictions, including a 12-month “Restricted Period,” preventing him being “engaged, concerned or interested in any Restricted Business”.
Mr Pellerey then obtained a position with another company, Tesla, which specialises in electric car design. Dyson took legal action to enforce the post-termination restraint.
The High Court ruled in its favour. It held that the company had established that the restraint was no wider than was reasonably necessary to protect its legitimate commercial interests in its trade secrets and confidential information.
Mr Pellerey would infringe the covenant if he joined Tesla. Its research and development activities were a “Restricted Business” within the meaning of his contract with Dyson.
When he resigned, both companies were designing electric cars. The overwhelming likelihood was that he would be involved in work at Tesla that would involve other aspects of the design of an electric car.
That work would inevitably be aimed at the design of a car that would be able to overcome a challenge from anything that the Dyson Group or other manufacturers might produce. Accordingly, Mr Pellerey would be competing with Dyson in his new job.
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