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Breach of Confidential Information
The confidential information of a business is a vital asset - this has become increasingly true in world where information can be distributed in an instant via digital communication and media.
Most businesses will invest time, money and resources to develop the confidential information that is often a key part of its operations. This information should be protected fiercely from misuse, just as any business would take measures to protect its physical assets.
If you or your business has been a victim of misuse of confidential information it is vital to seek legal help as soon as possible. For a confidential discussion about your situation call our expert solicitors now on 0845 872 6666.
What is Confidential Information?
Confidential information can take a wide variety of forms depending on the nature of the information and the business to which it relates.
Common examples of confidential business information include:
- Customer, client or supplier lists
- Internal operational documents
- Designs, blueprints and drawings
- Business plans
- Financial information
- Online account contacts such as connections on social media websites
In order for information to be classed as confidential information it must:
- Have the necessary quality of confidence;
- The information is imparted in a way that imposes an obligation of confidence;
- There has been an unauthorised use of the information to the businesses detriment; and
- The information has a commercial value.
How Can Confidential Information be Breached?
Confidential information can be breached in a variety of ways. This makes it difficult for a business to protect against all eventualities. Some of the most common ways confidential information can be breached are:
- Employee misuse of confidential information - for example by accessing and selling customer lists to a competitor.
- Confidential information disclosed during commercial negotiations. Unauthorised access of confidential information by a competitor who seeks to use that information for commercial benefit or to your businesses detriment.
Complaints of such breaches are increasing at a significant rate. This is arguably due to the vast increase of confidential information being stored by businesses electronically, which can provide more frequent access to such information, increasing the risk of it being misused.
What to do if Confidential Information is Breached?
If confidential information is breached it is important to act quickly and pro-actively to protect what is a valuable asset to your business. Protecting your confidential information is no different from stopping an intruder entering physical premises. In fact, the consequences of not acting when confidential information is breached may cause much greater financial loss to your business.
The types of remedies that may be available to your business if there is a breach or potential breach of confidential information include:
- An emergency injunction to stop it
- Delivery up of confidential information that is wrongfully in a 3rd parties possession
- An account of any profits made from unauthorised use of your confidential information