Confidential Information and Trade Secrets
Most countries have some form of protection for confidential information. This comes in mainly two forms, trade-secret protection and confidential information.
Trade secret law protects information that is of a commercial nature and as the name suggests, is kept secret. In order to maintain a trade secret it is important that the information is treated with care, to avoid accidental or malicious disclosure.
Confidential information is a broader category, often including trade secrets. It is any information which you wish to keep private. Much of this information is not protectable by trade-secrets but can be protected by specific agreements which are outlined further below.
One Way Non-Disclosure Agreements
These are used when providing confidential information from one person/company to one or more other persons/companies who will not be providing any confidential information back in exchange. This is usually the situation when hiring external consultants, seeking financing, or disclosing an invention to a potential purchaser.
Two Way Non-Disclosure Agreements
These are are more commonly used when two companies are each providing confidential information to each other in order to evaluate or engage in a business agrangement together. Common examples are joint research and development programs, and distribution arangements which require product development, design or repair work.
Employement Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreements
These are agreements between an employer and their employee or a contractor. These agreements can be provided as either part of the main employment agreement, or as a seperate document. Such agreements are usually used by employers to protect themselves in the event a departing employee seeks to take confidential information or trade-secrets with them to a competitor (or start their own competing company).
We can provide consultation to determine what information your company has which might be protectable as confidential information, and whether it is better to maintain the information as confidential or file for other forms of IP protection. We can work with you to provide effective means of protecting your confidential information, through internal best practices, employment agreements, and non-disclosure agreements.
In most cases confidentiality agreements can be prepared quickly and cost effectively from our templates. We can prepare a basic One-Way or Two-Way Non Disclosure Agreement, or employee confidentiality clause for you at either a fixed cost of 1,000 dollars, or at our hourly rates (which will usually result in some cost savings). We can generally provide these agreements within 24 hours. for more information on our pricing philosophy please click here.
Further customization or bespoke agreements may be required in some circumstances, and will generally be billed at our hourly rate. This will usually be the case where more is involved than protection of the confidential information (such as joint IP development), where the agreement is to be subject to the laws of a foreign jurisdiction, or where negotiation with the other parties will be required.
If you know or suspect your confidential information has been misapropriated it is important that you seek legal advise as soon as possible. It may be possible to prevent the misuse or publication of your information if you can quickly obtain a court Order prohibiting or ordering certian actions.
Duty of Confidence
Even if there is no agreement in place, you may have a legal remedy for some uses of your confidential information. Should you suspect that someone is using or about to use your confidential information we can provide you a free consultation to discuss whether you have any potential remedies.