Confidential Information and Intellectual Property

Written by Thomas Staveley | June 28, 2023

Intellectual Property

Protecting confidential information and intellectual property requires additional measures beyond general data security practices.  There are several steps that can be taken to help safeguard your confidential information and intellectual property.

It is always important to identify and classify the sensitive information.  You can do this by identifying and classifying confidential information within your business. This will help ensure that appropriate security measures are applied to the most critical assets.  Separately, you may want to implement access controls such as, restricting access to confidential information on a need-to-know basis or alternatively use strong authentication methods, such as multi-factor authentication, and regularly review and update user access permissions.

You may consider registration of any relevant intellectual property rights such as patents, trade marks, designs at the relevant offices.  This provides legal protection and establishes your ownership rights.  It is always better to rely on registrable intellectual property rights rather than any unregistered rights.

Arguably most important is to have non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in place with your all employees, contractors or third parties which protects confidential information and any intellectual property.  These agreements establish legal obligations and consequences for unauthorised disclosure.  Therefore, in the event of a breach of confidence and your confidential information is disclosed, you are in a better position to enforce your rights against the discloser when you have a written agreement in place.  However, unlike with infringement disputes where the aim is to place the claimant back in the position, they would have been but not for the infringement, this can be very difficult for disputes concerning confidential information as once the cat is out the bag.

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