Stopping the sale of secrets

Former employee temporarily restrained from marketing his invention
|Canadian Employment Law Today

When Maple Leaf Foods in Brandon, Man., employed Andrew Butler, he was involved in the invention of a “spray chill system.” Maple Leaf owns and operates a pork abattoir at which it butchers hogs. It processes the hogs after slaughter and markets the products worldwide. By using the new technology there is less shrinkage of the carcass, more product to sell and a better quality of product.

Mr. Butler resigned from Maple Leaf in May 2001. Since then he incorporated a company, Industrial Energy Management Solutions Inc., and attempted to market a technology known as the “spray chill system.” He also filed an application to patent the technology or some variation of the technology that was developed while he was employed with Maple Leaf.

Maple Leaf brought an application seeking an interim injunction against Mr. Butler pending trial of its action against him. It sought to restrain Mr. Butler from using any confidential information acquired by him during the course of his employment, including information concerning the design and operation of the spray chill system.