The law of confidential information can protect a wide range of information ranging from complex and proprietary information, through to relatively mundane information (such as lists of customers or business contacts), which has been collated through sufficient hard work and skill.
The law in the UK has also changed relatively recently with the implementation of The Trade Secrets (Enforcement, etc.) Regulations 2018, which provide a statutory basis for claims in respect of such “trade secrets”. Previously, the law of confidential information (and the subset of that law applying to “trade secrets”) was exclusively a creation of the English common law.
Waterfront’s specialist confidential information lawyers and trade secrets lawyers can guide their clients through these complex laws and add value by:
One extremely common method of protecting confidential information is by way of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). NDAs essentially provide a layer of contractual protection in addition to that potentially available under the common law.
The advantage of NDAs is that they provide parties with the opportunity to set out the specific parameters under which disclosed confidential information can be used by recipients and for how long. Without such express contractual terms, there is the potential for uncertainty and disagreement. In a worst-case scenario, the recipient may even try and argue that the information received lacks the quality of confidence and is thus unencumbered by obligations of confidence.
Waterfront’s NDA lawyers in London are experts in drafting NDAs and reviewing NDAs received from third parties. For example, it can be important not to just sign up to the first version of an NDA presented to you without checking with our specialist confidentiality agreement lawyers first. Otherwise, you could inadvertently sign up to undesirable, but binding, contractual restrictions. Our NDA lawyers have years of experience in spotting the pitfalls and getting the drafting of NDAs correct.
NDAs can also serve a useful purpose by documenting that a party has taken steps to treat materials in a confidential manner. For example, if there is ever a dispute about whether a piece of information, or even a valuable invention, had been placed into the public domain, you might protect yourself from such an allegation by entering into such a protective NDA. Again, Waterfront’s NDA lawyers can assist you navigating these issues.
Waterfront’s confidential information lawyers and trade secrets lawyers act for clients in a range of different industries. Many companies will own valuable confidential information and even trade secrets. Where such information threatens to fall into the public domain or be misappropriated by competitors, Watefront’s trade secret lawyers can assist on implementing procedures to reduce risk.
Furthermore, Waterfront’s confidential information lawyers and trade secrets lawyers carry out client risk assessment relating to a company’s confidential information whereby we seek to improve procedures, alongside protective legal documentation. For example, it is always important that employment contracts are reviewed to make sure they effectively protect an employer’s confidential information. Furthermore, processes might need to be implemented to make sure that particularly valuable information is only available to a restricted class of individuals, and, even then, there are appropriate processes to restrict excessive and unwarranted access and duplication, together with logs ensuring there is a record of who is accessing what data and when.
One industry sector where these risks are particularly apparent is in the IT and computer software sectors. This is because the law of confidential information and trade secrets has a valuable role to play in the protection of computer software, given than copyright and patent protection in relation to the same is patchy at best.
Therefore, where a software developer company owns valuable computer software which is being accessed by developers, in particular those developers who may go on to work for competitors in the future, it is vitally important that such companies think carefully about their processes and legal agreements in order to best protect their interests.
Waterfront’s confidentiality agreement lawyers in London can assist client in improving their processes and legal protections so that risks are kept low.
There is often an overlap between confidential information issues and employment law, when employees and consultants misuse confidential information. Waterfront has a team of specialist employment lawyers who are also expert confidentiality agreement lawyers.
Where there has been a breach of confidence, we can move fast to safeguard those rights. Where appropriate, this can be done urgently and upon application to the courts, without prior notice.
Our team of confidential information and trade secrets lawyers in London has experience of litigating confidential information disputes and in obtaining, opposing and challenging search and seizure orders, including “doorstep Piller” orders and injunctions.
Search and seizure orders are court orders which can enable the search for and seizure of evidence without warning. The partners in our litigation team are also experienced “supervising solicitors”, having supervised the execution of these orders.
If you would like further advice about safeguarding your know how, trade secrets or confidential information, please contact our team of confidentiality agreement lawyers and trade secrets layers for your free initial chat. Furthermore, if you are interested in exploring NDAs, please also contact us to speak with our specialist NDA lawyers.
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