Tech Law news 26 March 2010

Restraints of trade in employment

Computerworld reports on an Employment Relations Authority decision upholding a restraint of trade clause for a former IT account manager. Restraint clauses are common in the IT industry, as in others, and can be particularly important given the significance of IP and know-how in the IT sector. The article notes that the decision “belies the commonly-held belief that restraint of trade clauses are difficult to enforce”. It is true that the ERA and the Courts will strike down or limit unreasonable restraint clauses, but in recent years the Courts have tended to uphold restraint clauses. The conduct of the parties post-termination is also likely to be relevant, with “bad behaviour” on either side likely to be taken into account by the relevant authority.

Website terms

My latest Computerworld article is now online: Analysis: Cases clarify requirements for website terms of use

Facebook privacy investigation

The EU is investigating whether posting photos and other information about people on Facebook without their consent is a breach of privacy law. Privacy is a rapidly developing area, and the EU (for better or worse) leads the world in this area. The policies adopted in the EU are likely to influence privacy policy in other jurisdictions, including New Zealand where the Law Commission recently recommended leaving privacy to develop at common law (i.e. develop “organically”). It is reasonable to expect that with privacy, where Europe goes, the UK will go; and where the UK goes, New Zealand will eventually go.