Background: Intellectual Property

Climate Change Technology P/L (‘CCT’) has sought an interlocutory injunction to restrain a former director and inventor of a thermal energy battery.  The employment law decision raises the importance of documenting relationships.


In essence:

  • first of all, Dr Patrick Glynn was employed by CCT between 2011 and 2016. He was its principal research officer and director. In addition, Dr Glynn was appointed its chief executive towards the end of his tenure at CCT
  • he invented a thermal energy storage device and assigned a patent to it in 2011. Furthermore, he signed an intellectual property agreement
  • CCT submitted that they spent about $5 million over the last six years on researching and developing the device and associated technology
  • when Dr Glynn quit in 2016, he allegedly retained intellectual property and confidential information in relation to the device. Furthermore, he set up another research and development company and an umbrella company
  • in addition, CCT alleged that Dr Glynn and the companies had been negotiating with third parties he had first dealt with when he was employed at CCT
  • consequently, CCT was granted an interim injunction in March
  • as a result, CCT are seeking the return of intellectual property and confidential information to stop its ‘misuse and dissemination’
  • furthermore, CCT are seeking to prevent Dr Glynn and the companies from exploiting business opportunities which arose while he was director and representative


Justice Nicholson:

  • noted an intellectual property agreement appeared to be the ‘only express written agreement potentially relevant to the parties’ relationship’
  • noted there was ‘no written employment agreement, no deed of confidentiality or restraint of trade regulating the parties’ relationship or [Dr Glynn’s] post-employment obligations with respect to [CCT] is in evidence’
  • accepted direct supporting evidence Dr Glynn worked full-time as a chief scientist. In addition, he devoted thousands of hours to its project and possessed a significant amount of confidential information about its intellectual property
  • was satisfied there was support for potential findings that CCT was the owner of the intellectual property. Furthermore, such support indicates a large number of digital files were transferred following Dr Glynn’s resignation
  • said it was open to the court to discern from email correspondence that Dr Glynn and the companies had been negotiating with third parties
  • was satisfied that damages would not be an adequate remedy
  • concluded CCT is entitled to an interlocutory injunction. The injunction will restrain Dr Glynn and the two companies from using, exploiting, destroying or altering the ‘project intellectual property and confidential information’
  • the injunction also names entities and individuals whom they are restrained from any dealings relating to the device. Furthermore, it requires the recording of any transactions or dealings in relation to the device

Tips for Employers

What our Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team recommends to employers:

  • review this employment law decision
  • seek the assistance of an employment lawyer to understand the impacts of this employment law decision
  • engage an employment lawyer to draft a written employment agreement with a suitable restraint of trade clause relevant to the position
  • engage an employment lawyer to draft a suitable deed of confidentiality
  • update employment contracts in response to this employment law decision
  • consult an employment lawyer if you suspect company confidential information or intellectual property has been misused

More Information

Please call the leading employment lawyers in Parramatta, the Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team on 9635-7966 to speak with one of our employment lawyers.