CA: Jurisprudence récente en secrets de commerce

 Stonetile (Canada) Ltd. v. Castcon Ltd.; 2010 ABQB 392; Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench; June 14, 2010

 Dans cette décision, malgré le fait qu’une partie du procédé confidentiel était publié entre autres dans une demande de brevet, le juge a déterminé quand-même que l’information reliée au procédé “dans son ensemble” était demeurée confidentielle:

[49]           When I review this patent application, and in absence of expert evidence, I find that simply having the patent application would not permit an individual to know exactly the method, and details of the production process. It did not divulge anywhere near the detail as the production manual or the detail of information about production that Robert Will would have known from his employment and association with Stonetile. The installation and attachment aspect of the invention was much more the focus of the patent application for the product.

1.2.8.   Conclusion on whether the information is confidential.

[50]           As a result, I conclude that although there was some public disclosure of aspects of the Stonetile system, and particularly as it related to attachment to the building and all aspects of the installation process, there was not sufficient disclosure of details of the overall production process to say that process was in the public domain. Nor can it be said that sufficient detail of the production process had been made public that the details of Stonetile’s process taken together have lost their confidential nature. I find that Stonetile took sufficient steps to guard its production process as confidential, to meet the onus it carries as the plaintiff to prove that the production process was confidential information.

Faits:

[1]               Robert Will was employed by Stonetile from 1992 until January, 2001. In 2003, he started a company, Castcon Ltd., to produce and sell a similar product to Stonetile, a cement exterior moulding system for buildings. Stonetile brings this action against Castcon, its president, Robert Will and two other shareholders and directors, Ronald Will and Bernie Knopp, alleging a misuse of confidential information. Stonetile alleges that Robert Will conveyed trade secrets of Stonetile to Castcon, in contravention of a duty of confidence and fiduciary duties he owed to Stonetile, as well as in breach of a confidentiality contract.

Issues

 [3]               1.         Is there an Action for Breach of Confidence?

 1.1.      What is the nature of the confidential information?

 1.2.      Is the information confidential in nature?

 1.3.      Was the information conveyed in confidence?

 1.4      Was the information misused by the party to whom it was communicated?

 2.         Is there an Action for Breach of Contract?

 3.         Is there an Action under the Trade-marks Act?

 4.         Is there a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

 5.         What are the Available Remedies?

Conclusion

[113]      The pleadings against the defendants Bernie Knopp and Ronald Will allege that they had induced Robert Will to breach duties owed to Stonetile. No evidence was lead in relation to that conduct by those two defendants, and the action against them is dismissed.

 [114]      The plaintiff is entitled to damages of $111,345.00 against both the defendants Robert Will and Castcon.

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