There may be numerous aspects of your business activities that hold considerable commercial value and could give someone else an unfair commercial advantage if they decide to misuse information gleaned from within your organisation.
The intellectual property specialists at Ackroyd Legal will identify these assets and help you to ensure that they are protected from being exploited without authorisation. If a breach may have taken place, it is essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible. This will minimise the impact on your business as well as the potential for the other party to benefit from the information.
We are very proud of the long-term relationships that we continue to develop within our diverse client base. We will provide a tailored and very cost-effective service according to your requirements.
Trade secrets do, in fact, generate intellectual property rights in English law. Unlike patents and trademarks, trade secrets do not need to be registered. A trade secret is defined in law as information that is secret that holds commercial value because it is a secret and has been the subject of reasonable steps to ensure that it remains hidden.
Trade secrets protect aspects such as processes and methods and anything else that holds such value that it warrants protection. Trade secrets are the elements of commercial activity that are not disclosed to the public because they have the potential to give a company an advantage over its competitors.
It is not uncommon for employees to be obliged to sign a non-disclosure agreement if they are to know a company’s trade secrets.
Trade secrets can be protected by taking action for breach of confidence against someone who has disclosed the information. This is a common-law action that is based on the principle that the other party should not take an unfair commercial advantage based on information that was given to them in confidence. In order to take action for breach of confidence, you will need to show all of the following elements:
Confidential information is distinct from trade secrets because it refers to any information that is considered to be confidential. Sensitive data could encompass trade secrets. However, the definition is far broader than this and could include client lists and marketing strategies. Confidential information may be protected by requiring employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which may give rise to an action for breach of contract if this is later infringed.
In intellectual property terms, know-how means the knowledge and expertise that a person may develop over a period of time. Know-how could include processes, methods and unpatented elements of your business activities, that someone else could potentially use to gain an unfair commercial advantage.
Know-how may, therefore, hold considerable commercial value to your business and can be converted into patents or trade secrets depending upon its nature, so that it then becomes protected and you can seek redress if an infringement arises.
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