On December 7, 2015, Mercedes’ suit against Benjamin Hoyle, one of its former engineers who allegedly breached his employment contract and misappropriated confidential, trade secret information, was made public. Since 2012, Hoyle had been a member of Mercedes’ Performance Engineering Department working on the Mercedes’ High Performance Powertrain (HPP) Limited Formula One (F1) racing engines. Last year, Hoyle informed Mercedes that he would not be renewing his contract set to expire at the end of 2015, and was planning on joining Ferrari.
Shortly after Hoyle informed Mercedes that he would not renew his contract, Mercedes invoked the “Garden Leave Period” of Hoyle’s contract, reassigning Hoyle to less sensitive duties unrelated to the F1 engines. Further, under the contract, Hoyle was prohibited from “disclosing or making use of . . . any trade secrets or confidential information of [Mercedes] HPP.” Using expert forensic computer analysts, however, Mercedes discovered that Hoyle was allegedly viewing race reports and data confidential to F1 during this “Garden Leave” Period, in contravention of the explicit and implied terms of his contract. The Particulars of Claim even sets forth a list of specific hard drives and laptops that personally belong to Hoyle that were found to contain confidential information on the Mercedes F1 engines.
Concerned that Ferrari may now have an unfair advantage with confidential information related to the Mercedes’ F1 engine, Mercedes alleges that Hoyle has: 1) breached his contract with Mercedes HPP and /or Mercedes HPP’s IT Policies; 2) breached the implied terms of the same contract, and; 3) breached his equitable duty of confidence to Mercedes HPP. As of November 13, 2015, the High Court had entered a Consent Order wherein Hoyle was set to produce certain amounts of information to Mercedes.
This case has been filed in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division: Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains Limited v Benjamin Hoyle, Claim No: HQ15X04325.