Amphenol v. Paul
When a worker signs a contract not to compete, resigns and begins work at another company, a court can order that the new company build firewalls, to prevent the employee's receipt of certain information, and search company computers once per month, for evidence the worker uploaded confidential information. Plaintiff Amphenol Corp. supplies interconnect systems for the military and the aerospace industries. It promoted Richard Paul to director of a high speed interconnect unit with responsibility for sales, pricing, marketing and engineering. Paul signed a contract not to compete with Amphenol up to 24 months after his departure. In March 2012, Paul resigned and accepted a job as vice president of product management and pricing at TE Connectivity. Amphenol conducted a forensic study of Paul's work computer and discovered that he allegedly copied its files and sent 2,000 work-related e-mails to his personal e-mail address. (Allegedly, Paul returned proprietary documents to Amphenol.) Amphenol requested an injunction, to enforce the agreement not to compete. The court found that although TE Connectivity is not currently a competitor, it is in the process of acquiring a competitor, and it has not prevented Paul from receipt of internal e-mails concerning the corporate acquisition and the pricing and sale of connectors. TE Connectivity did not take adequate measures to insulate Paul from conduct that could violate the noncompete. As a preliminary injunction, the court ordered TE Connectivity to build a fire wall, to prevent Paul from receipt of certain internal e-mails about the corporate acquisition prior to March 2014. The court ordered it to search TE computers once per month, for evidence that Paul uploaded Amphenol documents. The court also ordered that Paul refrain from any use of Amphenol's confidential information, trade secrets and customer and product information. Paul may not work on the corporate acquisition. Prior to March 2013, he may not possess any responsibility for connectors or interconnectors of any kind. Prior to March 2013, he may not contact Amphenol workers to solicit them. He also may not contact Amphenol's customers, distributors and suppliers for the purpose of selling products in competition with Amphenol.