Virtuoso Legal Successfully Defend Individual in Injunction from Ex-Employer Relating to Restrictive Covenants and Non-Compete Clauses

Freshasia Foods Ltd v Jing Lu [2018] EWHC 3644 (Ch) (04 January 2019): Virtuoso Legal defend individual from restrictive covenants from ex-employer. Trial to follow later in the year.

Freshasia Foods Ltd v Jing Lu [2018] EWHC 3644 (Ch) (04 January 2019): Virtuoso Legal defend individual from interim injunction concerning restrictive covenants from ex-employer. Trial to follow later in the year.

Virtuoso Legal’s intellectual property litigation team, led by Philip Partington (and including Lakmal Walawage and Razvan Popa) secured a favourable result for our client Jing Liu, in injunctive proceedings in the Chancery Division of the High Court.

Our client had been subject to an interim injunction application from their former employer Freshasia Foods limited. The latter sought to restrict our client’s business activities on the basis of non-solicitation and non-compete clauses.

An overview of these issues, as well as the broader concerns surrounding restrictive covenants and employment contracts, can be found here

As a consequence of these proceedings our client may now continue his role at his new employer until (at the very least) the matter goes to trial later in May 2019. Further to this, the judgment of Mr. Daniel Alexander QC provides favourable commetary upon the enforcement of the non-compete clause overall.

Head of IP Protect, Philip Partington commented:

Interim injunctions such as the one experienced by Jing are surprisingly common. Business as we know it today subsist on a knowledge economy and, as such, it is typical for employers to look to reduce risk when employees leave their business.

However, it is absolutely fundamental that agreements which are made are proportionate and do not seek to limit ex-employees activities above and beyond what is reasonable. In this case, it was demonstrated that restrictions sought upon our client by this interim injunction were – in this instance – undue.

We are delighted for Jing who now has peace of mind that he can work in the industry for which he has a keen passion. If we had been unsuccessful, Jing would have been out of a job a week before Christmas, and even more worryingly, would have needed to have secured an alternative position very quickly due to his immigration status.

Overall, cases where former employees with very deep pockets can proceed to bring complex expensive High Court proceedings against former employees – do not sit well with me.

Indeed, as a matter of public policy, I find it astonishing that if employees bring claims against employers, those employers have costs limits and the protection of the Employment Tribunal. In contrast, employees subject to these sorts of actions suddenly find themselves exposed to costs which eclipse what they earned during employment.

A copy of the judgment can be found here.

For more information about this judgment, please contact Philip Partington via email, or call:

02074 128 372

Virtuoso Legal Defend Individual in Injunction from Ex-Employer Relating to Restrictive Covenants and Non-Compete Clauses was written by Dr. Martin Douglas Hendry

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