Judge not entitled to rewrite weak restrictive covenant
The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court judge’s decision to add words to a non-compete restriction, which had originally offered the employer very little protection. The court held that there was no ambiguity in the drafting of the covenant. Rather, the covenant had been clearly drafted but simply failed to achieve the protection that the employer required. The employer had made a bad bargain and it was not open to the court to rewrite the covenant to improve their position (Prophet plc v Huggett).
Mr Huggett was employed as a sales manager by Prophet, a software developer and supplier for the fresh produce industry. In 2013, Mr Huggett resigned, asking to be released from his notice period. He initially said that he had been offered a role in food manufacturing. However, this was untrue, and he eventually admitted that he had been recruited by K3 Business Solutions, which operated in direct competition with Prophet.
Mr Huggett’s contract with Prophet contained a non-compete covenant, which purported to restrain him for 12 months from working in a role ‘in any area and in connection with any products in, or on, which he/she was involved while employed hereunder’. Read literally, the covenant offered the employer no protection at all since no competitor would be selling Prophet’s products. Rather, they would be selling products that were similar to Prophet’s products…
Click on the link below to read the rest of the Addleshaw Goddard briefing.
Sign in or Register to continue reading this article
It's quick, easy and free!
It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.Register now
Why register to The Lawyer
In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.
Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.
Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.
More relevant to you
To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.
News from Addleshaw Goddard
News from The Lawyer
Briefings from Addleshaw Goddard
Addleshaw Goddard looks back at the key legislative developments for 2014.
Addleshaw Goddard gives an overview of future legislative developements for the coming year.
Analysis from The Lawyer
Which firms are cutting it in this era of slimline rosters, and who are the GC new brooms making clean sweeps? The Lawyer can reveal all
Could Slater & Gordon achieve its stated aim of becoming a top consumer brand by acquiring Pannone?