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How to protect confidential information


September 19, 2019

The law of confidentiality protects your ideas and trade secrets provided you take appropriate steps to safeguard the secrecy of the information.

  • The law can protect your information and knowhow.
  • To gain IP protection, information must be kept secret and be kept out of the public domain.
  • Some typical examples of confidential information include:
    • business plans,
    • software algorithms,
    • customer lists,
    • internal policies and procedures which help to improve efficiency
    • knowledge as to the best way to use or combine technology
    • a route which cuts down time when making a string of deliveries

How to protect confidential information

You need to have strict procedures in place in your business in order to ensure that confidential information is not inadvertently disclosed to the public, which could destroy its protected status. So, it makes sense to only circulate confidential information on a “need to know” basis, and impose additional confidentiality obligations on staff and contractors.

  • Confidentiality of information should be considered at the outset before entering into discussions with business partners, suppliers and manufacturers
  • It is important to put any recipients of confidential information on notice that the information they receive is confidential.
  • A written confidentiality agreement should be put in place so that staff and freelancers with access to your confidential information are bound to maintain confidentiality, and do not take unfair advantage once they leave your employment
  • A written confidentiality agreement or NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) is important so that the obligations of each party can be made certain.