Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements
The law of confidential information is often the only or main form of protection for your commercially sensitive materials and information, which cannot otherwise be protected by Intellectual Property Rights such as patents or which can only be so protected to a limited extent.
Issues of confidentiality inevitably arise whenever you discuss a prospective business opportunity or collaboration with a third party when, very often, you will be asked to disclose certain information as part of any discussions and much of it may be valuable to you and/or commercially sensitive.
Whilst, in certain circumstances, an obligation of confidentiality can be implied because of the circumstances of disclosure or because of the special relationship between the two parties concerned, the only really effective way to impose such an obligation is by contract. We are often asked to advise on, or to prepare, confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements. You will wish to ensure that the recipient of any such information is under an obligation not to disclose it to others and to use the information only for a specific purpose. We can also ensure that appropriate provisions are included in the agreement entitling you to the award of an injunction in circumstances where damages on account of profits will be of little or no use to you (as the information will already be in the public domain). A well drafted agreement will also provide for what happens to information and records if the relevant project or transaction being discussed does not proceed.
Freedom of Information Act
We also act for a number of public and statutory bodies in advising on the terms of the Freedom of Information Act and their duties to protect the confidentiality of personal information in circumstances where they have received a request for public interest disclosure. We also liaise closely with our employment department in relation to confidentiality issues in an employment context.