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Question: equity law question question 1 simon conducts a dental...

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Equity - Law Question


Question 1




Simon conducts a dental practice – call this the Practice’.


Prior to becoming a dentist, Simon had worked as a skilled artisan in Rolls Royce’s factory where he mastered the art of hand-fabricating leather in a way that no machine could have duplicated.


Simon discovered an inexpensive method of making an apparatus to stop snoring. Let's call this ‘Simon’s Method’. Simon’s Method is not complicated to someone with the knowledge of a dentist combined with the ability of a highly skilled leather artisan. What he did was to create a plastic plate and worked out where to sew a leather flap on it which would effectively keep the nasal cavity open to stop snoring.


Working this out took Simon a month’s work creating 3D models on his computer. The plates themselves however took a day only to create. The patient had initially to make an appointment whereby Simon would take a mould of their mouth and then fabricate the plate and leather attachment.


Ronald has a diploma as a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists’ duties are to clean and scale teeth and they must work under the supervision of a dentist at all times. Ronald has been in full-time employment as a dental hygienist with Simon since graduation, a period around four years.


Ronald has no idea of how Simon’s Method works in a technical sense. But he knows it does work, as he has heard patients sing its praises.


Part of Ronald’s duties was taking the mould of the patient’s mouth. Whilst Simon would actually fabricate the plate itself, Ronald would be entrusted with doing minor adjustments, like cutting off sharp edges, or moving the leather components up and down to make a better fit. He occasionally was also asked to help with jobs like cutting pieces of leather to size and this further exposed him to the methods involved.


Ronald, is, to use his own words, ‘not too bad with my hands’. Although not possessing any of the skill of a leather artisan, he worked out how to create plates simply by watching them being made in Simon’s workshop.


Simon was, to use his own words, ‘a bit careless’ with how he treated the know-how involved in the creation of a plate. He did casually remind Ronald to ‘keep it mum’ and ‘we don’t want people to know about this’ but took few other steps.


Ronald resigned from his employment with Simon recently. At this this time, the Practice was the only one using Simon’s Method. Simon made a lot of money from its use.


Immediately after his resignation, Ronald commenced employment as a dental hygienist with a dental practice called ‘Megacareys Dental’. Let’s call this: ‘Ronald’s New Position’.


Simon a short while ago finds out what Ronald has been up to. Simon has instituted proceedings against Ronald for an injunction which if upheld would restrain Ronald from using the knowledge comprised in Simon’s Method either because it was a trade secret or confidential information, or because Simon would be in breach of a restraint of trade clause with Ronald if he did so. The fact of the injunction is merely background to this question and you are not required to make further enquiry into the strength of Ronald’s case nor of the relevant restraint of trade clause.


The character of the information and knowledge comprised in Simon’s Method is at the forefront of this question.


Now answer the following question, and discuss the legal reasoning and authorities to support your answer:


Does the information and knowledge comprised in Simon’s Method fall within the first, second, or third category of Faccenda Chicken Ltd. v Fowler [1985] 1 All ER 724?



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