A state Court of Appeals in Milwaukee recently ended the remaining restrictions on seven Deluxe Data Corp. employees accused of stealing trade secrets for Visa U.S.A.

In a suit filed in January, Deluxe Data, the payments processing subsidiary of check-printing giant Deluxe Corp., claimed Visa had hired the seven to develop software comparable to Deluxe's Advantage program.

Deluxe said its ex-employees had violated a confidentiality agreement obliging them not to share trade secrets during or after their employment.

The employees left Deluxe Data late last year to join Visa's debit processing service in Englewood, Colo.

Visa has used Deluxe's Advantage software to support its check card program since 1995.

"It looks like Deluxe couldn't prove its case in a sufficient manner," commented Anita Boomstein, a partner in Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, New York, regarding last week's appellate ruling.

"Deluxe can continue and hope to seek damages, but it is clearly disadvantaged at this point because there are no restrictions on the employees," she added.

In March, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge denied Deluxe a preliminary injunction against the employees, and he also weakened a temporary restraining order against them that had been imposed at the end of January.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.