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The employee was subject to a restrictive covenant that prevented him from competing with or working for a competitor of Prophet plc.  An error in the drafting meant that competing was restricted to selling the same products to customers that were produced by Prophet, something the employee could never do as Prophet would not supply them.

The employee left and moved to a competitor company and his original employer, Prophet, sought to enforce the covenant.

The Judge concluded that the covenant was supposed to mean that the employee could not supply products produced by Prophet or were similar to products produced by Prophet.

Ordinarily when looking at a restriction a court may remove certain words, (called 'blue pencilling') in order to give the restriction meaning,  but in this case additional words were effectively added to give commercial effect to what the parties had intended at the time.



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Chambers and Partners

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