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Computer Law/legal right to email address


My business had an employee that was working from his own home computer with an email account that he used for our business and for his own personal use. This email address was on his business cards for our business (he was with us for almost 15 years) and when he quit he was supposed to turn the email address over to us, he said that he would forward us any business emails that he received. He went to work for one of our competitors and never gave us control of the email, now that "office" has lost so much business that we are possibly going to have to shut it down. Does my business have any legal recourse to get that email turned over to us, or are we just out of all the jobs that, logically, still email that address?


Was this an email account owned and operated by your company, or an account that your ex-employee set up on his own?  When you say that he was supposed to turn the email over to you, was that based upon a company policy or some other type of communication?  Your company may have ownership rights in content that may be considered trade secrets in your ex-employee's email account, but I would strongly advise you contact a local California employment lawyer to advise you on your rights and options.

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Dan Pepper


I can answer questions regarding all forms of Internet, technology, and multimedia law. Specific areas may include: website terms and conditions, privacy policies, copyright, trademark, domain name disputes, software and technology licensing, and website and software development agreements. More information can be found at


I've practiced law since 1994, representing dozens of ecommerce, Internet, and software companies.

NJ State Bar Association PA State Bar Association American Bar Association American Corporate Counsel Association Internet & Computer Law Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association Somerset County Business Partnership Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Licensing Executives Society Free Speech Coalition Board of Advisors, Stevens Institute of Technology Communications

BA, Political Science; JD.

Past/Present Clients
Oracle Corporation, BEA Systems

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