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Know-how, trade secrets and confidential information

To many businesses, know-how is their key commercial asset. It can be as important, if not more important, than formal intellectual property rights. It also serves as a crucial additional legal right in areas where intellectual property lawyers cannot provide comprehensive protection.

In order to safeguard know-how, it should be kept secret from competitors. Employees should be bound by confidentiality agreements.

Businesses which do not rely on significant technical know-how may still possess important confidential information, which can include relatively mundane information (such as lists of customers, or business contacts), that are key to their success.

We can help businesses to protect and exploit these valuable assets to their commercial advantage, through a range of commercial agreements (including know-how licences) and through a range of litigation measures. 

Where trade secrets or confidential information are threatened by the actions of a disgruntled employee, or some other third party, 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 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.

Examples of our work in this area include: 

  • Given our expertise in acting for software providers, we are regularly instructed to protect confidential information and trade secrets in our clients' software. Our technology solicitors are formidable when it comes to solving these issues
  • We acted for a software company in High Court proceedings for breach of confidence against a former consultant and obtained judgment in favour of our client in respect of the breach of confidence allegations.


If you feel beyond the help of copyright lawyers and patent litigation solicitors, don't lose hope. Discuss your issues with us and we can help you find a practical solution.

If you would like further advice about safeguarding your know how, trade secrets or confidential information, please contact our team for your free initial chat.