DoubleClick, Inc. v. Henderson, 1997 WL 731413 (Supreme Ct. N.Y. Cty. Nov. 7, 1997) (full-text).
Factual Background Edit
Plaintiff confiscated Henderson's computer when he was fired from the company, and discovered e-mails and documents containing highly confidential company information and evidence that Henderson and another executive were planning to leave the company and start a competing Internet advertising firm.
Trial Court Proceeding Edit
The court rejected the defendants' claim that the information was not highly confidential, but was posted on plaintiff's website, and held that “defendants have sensitive proprietary information regarding DoubleClick's pricing, and have at least contemplated using such information to compete against their former employer.” Although neither defendant had signed a non-competition agreement with the company, the court enjoined them from developing a competitive company under the so-called “inevitable disclosure” theory — that the defendants would inevitably disclose and use their former employer's trade secrets in their new position.
While granting the injunction, the judge refused plaintiff's request that the injunction run for a year, settling instead on six months, because of the rapidly evolving changes in the Internet advertising industry (but left the door open for plaintiff to apply for an extension after the six month period had run “upon a showing of good cause”). The injunction permits the defendants to work in the advertising industry, as long as they do not provide advice or information on Internet advertising.