On August 2oth, 2009, the South Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Milliken & Co. v. Morin. The case deals with two issues: (1) Whether Milliken was entitled to injunctive/equitable relief in addition to the award of damages by the jury. (Not sure why they weren’t allowed to elect an equitable remedy.) And, there is a Muckenfuss type issue: (2) Whether the provisions related to confidentiality, inventions and non-disclosure are tantamount to a non-compete, which must be limited in geographic scope and time. Nothing earth shattering in this case, but the next to last sentence in last paragraph of the opinion hints in the wrong direction. Will consider further and discuss next time.
UPDATE: The South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed but slightly modified the Court of Appeals decision in this case in Milliken & Co. v. Morin, 399 S.C. 23, 731 S.E.2d 288(S.C. 2012). Like the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court deemed enforceable an assignment agreement by a research physicist with Milliken covering all inventions during and one year after employment (this post-employment agreement is known as a “holdover” agreement), and a confidentiality agreement binding for three years after employment covering competitively sensitive information, even if it not a trade secret. Continue reading