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2 March 2017Americas

Pfizer granted trade secret order against former employee

A US court has granted Pfizer a temporary restraining order (TRO) against a former employee for allegedly stealing trade secrets.

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted the TRO on the basis that Pfizer “has a reasonable likelihood of success on merits of its claims” that a former employee breached an employment agreement by misappropriating confidential information and trade secrets.

The lawsuit, filed by Pfizer on Tuesday, February 28—just one day before the TRO was granted—tried to enjoin the employee from using Pfizer’s “highly confidential and sensitive information”.

The employee, a former global marketing director at Pfizer, allegedly violated her agreement with Pfizer by sending confidential emails from her work email to her private email, before she voluntarily resigned in January.

According to Pfizer, she also refused to inform the company where she planned to work after her employment with Pfizer.

Pfizer added that its former employee “secretly copied” approximately 600 Pfizer files to a USB during the last weeks of her employment.

“Those secretly copied and unencrypted files contain numerous confidential, proprietary and sensitive files concerning, for example, Pfizer’s strategic plans, its business forecasts and sensitive product data,” said Pfizer.

It added: “If such information were to be disclosed to Pfizer’s competitors in the highly competitive pharmaceutical industry, such disclosure would be severely detrimental to Pfizer.”

The district court said that without the TRO, Pfizer could suffer irreparable harm to its operations and reputation.

Following the TRO, the employee is enjoined from disclosing any information regarding Pfizer to other parties and must stop the use, if any, of information obtained from the trade secrets.

The court will hold a hearing on extending the TRO on March 7.

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