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Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine Cannot Serve as the Basis of a Stand-Alone Claim in Georgia

In recent years, lawyers in many jurisdictions have utilized a creative approach called the “inevitable disclosure doctrine” to generate what is effectively an unwritten non-compete obligation that prevents employees from moving to a competitor in a role comparable to their prior job. The Georgia Supreme Court in Holton v. Physician Oncology Servs., No. S13A0012, 2013 Ga. LEXIS 414 (Ga. May 6, 2013), recently clarified that under Georgia law, the “inevitable disclosure doctrine is not [an] independent claim under which a trial court may enjoin an employee from working for an employer or disclosing trade secrets.” Notably, however, the Court left open the question of whether the inevitable disclosure doctrine could be used “to support a claim for the threatened misappropriation of trade secrets.”

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