2017

Case Law: Employers have no claim to property in e-mails or the content of e-mails sent by employees from the employer’s email accounts

Confidential information — Breach of confidence — Employment — Claimants seeking injunction requiring former employees to forward copies of e-mails received whilst employed — Whether e-mails and/or their content claimants’ property — Whether claimants entitled to relief

Capita Plc & Anor v Darch & Ors, Court of Appeal – Chancery Division, May 26, 2017, [2017] EWHC 1248 (Ch)Capita issued a claim, alleging that the Darch, their former employees, had acted in breach of express and/or implied terms of their contracts and also that they had acted in breach of confidence by extracting, receiving and misusing the Capita’s trade secrets and confidential information and infringing Capita’s rights in its database.

Capita issued a claim, alleging that the Darch, their former employees, had acted in breach of express and/or implied terms of their contracts and also that they had acted in breach of confidence by extracting, receiving and misusing the Capita’s trade secrets and confidential information and infringing Capita’s rights in its database. Capita sought damages and delivery up of all documents and other records belonging to them. Capita applied, for an order requiring that Darch forward to their lawyers’ copies of all e-mails that they had received into any personal e-mail account from Capita’s e-mail accounts.

On the application and the question whether an employer had a claim to property in e-mails or the content of e-mails that were sent by employees from the employer’s email accounts, it was held that the e-mails and/or the contents of the e-mails were not the Capita’s property. Accordingly, they were not entitled to the relief sought.

Full case can be found here

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