The Law of Confidentiality can protect your trade secrets.
Confidentiality-protecting trade secrets
If you are a paranoid uncommunicative boss, who can’t delegate, you may not have much of a business and your employees probably don’t like you, but you get full marks in the confidentiality stakes.
Despite the proliferation of electronic listening devices, which could make spying on your competitors so much more fun, it is likely that your confidential business information will be taken by your employees.
To protect themselves, employers can put a confidentiality clause in employment agreements. Those employers who have not quite got round to confidentiality clauses will be relieved to know that the Law of Confidentiality imposes on employees an unwritten implied duty to keep things secret. Not only whilst employed but also after leaving employment. One of the most cost effective methods of protection is to ensure that your employees know of this implied duty.
To decide if information is confidential information, there are three questions:
• Was there a quality of confidentiality about the information?
• Was it given in circumstances which suggest that it was confidential?
• Was it used to the detriment of the giver?
Not everything labelled confidential will be treated as such by the courts. The courts need to see some real loss, not just hurt pride.
Paul Brennan (c) 2010. All rights reserved.