Anton Piller order

Anton Piller order takes its name from a decision of the English Court of Appeal in Anton Piller K.G. v. Manufacturing Processes Ltd., [1976] Ch. 55 (C.A.). The appellant, Anton Piller, was a German manufacturer of motors and electric generators used in the computing industry. The respondent was the appellant's agent in the United Kingdom. As agents the respondents had received confidential information surrounding the appellant's business. The appellants found out that the respondents had been in secret communication with other German companies called Ferrostaal and Lechmotoren with a view to giving those companies detailed plans and drawings of the appellant's products so that they could be copied. The appellants were about to launch a new product and feared that details of it might get into the hands of competitors if the respondents were forewarned that the appellants were aware of the respondents' breaches of confidence. Anton Piller commenced ex parte proceedings seeking an injunction to restrain copyright infringement as well as a court order to permit entry to the respondent's premises to search and remove all confidential information owned by the appellants. The injunction was granted but the order for inspection and removal was refused. The appellants appealed the denial of the latter order. In the Court of Appeal the order was granted. From this initial order has grown the jurisprudence on Anton Piller orders, commonly known as civil search warrants.