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Protecting Confidential Information
Information, ideas and know-how are key to many businesses, and protection of such information is essential. The solicitors at JMW are well versed in the law surrounding confidential information and can advise on suitable steps to take to ensure it is protected.
How JMW Can Help
The intellectual property law team at JMW regularly advise business clients on how to protect their confidential information by:
- Reviewing their internal security procedures and policies
- Assisting with nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements when information needs to be disclosed to a third party
- Obtaining injunctions to prevent unauthorised disclosure or misuse of confidential information by third parties and current or former employees
There is no official registration process for confidential information in the UK, but the experts at JMW understand the value of managing the disclosure of sensitive information in a controlled and advised manner.
Our team has extensive experience of working with businesses across a broad range of industries, and can advise you on the procedures to protect confidential information. Our aim is to help you to safeguard and capitalise on the value of your assets, without any risk to business-critical confidentiality arrangements.
The Law of Confidential Information
The law of confidential information is a key form of protection for commercially sensitive information and materials that cannot otherwise be protected by intellectual property rights, such as patents or trademarks.
It provides legal protection for any information that is deemed commercially important and outside of public knowledge, and for which an obligation of confidentiality applies when disclosing it.
Examples of confidential information include:
- Financial information
- Business plans
- Plans and drawings
- Computer programmes
Disclosure of information is necessary in certain circumstances, such as when manufacturing a product or developing a business, but even in these instances this needs to be done through controlled processes in order to maintain secrecy.
The definition of the type of data to which this law applies is relatively flexible and open-ended, and the protection it offers lasts for as long as the information remains confidential, making it a valuable tool for businesses.
How long can confidential information be protected as confidential?
Although the law of confidential information generally applies for as long as the business wishes to keep the data confidential, time limitations on this status may apply in a number of circumstances:
- When information becomes outdated or ceases to hold commercial value
- When the confidentiality agreement is time-limited
- When technical information needs to be provided to public authorities to secure regulatory approval
- When an employee leaves the company, and the confidential information they possess can be considered part of their general skills and knowledge
There may be other instances in which data needs to be disclosed to specific parties as part of a business venture or legal process, in which case other legal agreements need to be put in place to preserve the confidentiality of the information.
What can I do if my confidential information is misused or exploited?
If a confidentiality agreement is unlawfully broken, the wronged party may be able to make a claim against the business or individual responsible to seek damages.
If the defendant has been found to have obtained confidential information before they have actually disclosed it, it may be possible to seek an injunction to prevent this from happening. If the information has already been disclosed, then the defendant may need to compensate the claimant for any losses incurred, or pay them an amount calculated in relation to the fee they would have had to pay to use the information lawfully.
Talk to Us
If you would like to discuss how we can help your business in protecting confidential information, call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back at your convenience.