Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 9/14/2010 09:56:00 AM

Australian Supermarket Trade Secrets and Defection Matter

By Todd

We try our best at Womble Trade Secrets to insure our readers learn about the global implications of trade secret law and its development and refinement. Today we note that The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting about an interesting case that involves a former manager in the supermarket business and his designs on investing in a competitive business following his resignation. Metcash formerly employed Lou Jardim as its chief of operations. Jardim wants to become a material shareholder in SPAR Australia Limited, apparently a direct competitor. So Metcash has gone to court.

Metcash has already won an injunction in the matter. Mr Jardim is on ''gardening leave'' from Metcash until March, and he has not been at work since February 5. He is banned from speaking to IGA staff, excluded from the premises and has been locked out of the company's electronic communications, the NSW Supreme Court was told yesterday.

Mr Jardim wants to make a 51 per cent investment in SPAR.

He says he resigned on July 16. Metcash is arguing that Mr Jardim is still employed by the company, and he is still being paid - therefore he is obliged to act in the company's best interest and should not be allowed to work with a competitor.

The hearing continues today and we'll keep you posted.


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