Knowledge is power. Businesses all generate and use information every day to make a profit. Some information is integral to the business continuing to operate and generate a profit. This is confidential information.
Examples include but are not limited to accounting information, client lists, unique business practices, supplier information, and internal communications.
Businesses need people to operate them and make decisions. Those representatives have been exposed to the business’ integral information in different ways. They are trusted with the necessary information to perform their duties for the business – information that can also be used against the business or otherwise to its detriment.
Breach of confidence occurs when a person entrusted with your business’ confidential information misuses, abuses and/or discloses that confidential information. You can sue someone for breach of confidence to recover damages for the resulting harm done to your business.
Our litigation lawyers assist in litigating breaches of confidence cases. From the negotiation stage to each step of the litigation process, you can rest assured you will be in control of the resolution.
When Is There a Breach of Confidence?
Most businesses prefer to keep all their information private to prevent its misuse. However, as technology has advanced, it has made it increasingly difficult to keep confidential information close to the chest.
It is essential for businesses to ensure all their employees and other representatives are aware of their confidentiality obligations. It is imperative to maintain a watchful eye over internal communications and limit disclosure of business information on a “need to know basis”.
When a person entrusted with a business’ confidential information uses it for private gain or otherwise to the detriment of the business, you can sue them for breach of confidence.
Succeeding on a breach of confidence claim requires proving the following:
The information conveyed was confidential in nature.
The information was communicated in confidence.
The information was misused by the party to whom it was communicated.
While the test seems simple and straightforward, every case turns on its own facts. What might seem like it is not confidential might in fact be considered confidential under the law. Our commercial litigation lawyers have the knowledge and experience required to determine if there is a claim against another party for breach of confidence.
How to Avoid Breach of Confidence
Many commercial and employment contracts contain restrictive covenants that protect a business’s confidential information from being shared without consent. There are also circumstances in which certain people have implied obligations in the contract not to share that confidential information as well.
Our lawyers have extensive experience in drafting non-disclosure agreements for our clients. They can help prepare contracts that prohibit the other party (like an investor or employee) from revealing the information to anyone else, even after the end of an employment or business relationship.
Breach of Confidence: What Action Can a Business Take?
If your business is suffering economic losses or other damages because someone is using your business’s confidential information, our litigation lawyers are here to help.
You can send a cease-and-desist letter to the party that used or disclosed your confidential information without your permission. If you have suffered damages you can prove, you can also demand compensation for your losses and negotiate with the other party. This is typically done through a demand letter.
If the other party does not stop using your confidential information and refuses to negotiate, the only option left is to sue for the damages your business incurred and potentially other remedies.
A commercial litigation lawyer becomes paramount at every stage of legal proceedings. Proceedings typically start with the pleadings – whether it’s by application or action.
You can attempt to resolve some or all the issues through Mediation. However, some matters may require discoveries (examination for discoveries) and full-blown litigation to compensate the company for the damages incurred due to misuse of its confidential information.
After examination for discovery, a plaintiff must serve a trial record, schedule and attend a pre-trial conference and then prepare for and attend the trial.
Our litigation lawyers understand the importance of protecting your business’ secrets and maintaining your competitive edge in the market. We will help you navigate this process and achieve the results you need with cost-efficient and effective advocacy.
If you want to clarify your business’ rights or want to pursue legal action for damages relating to your confidential business information, our business lawyers would be glad to help you. Contact us at 1-800-771-7882, or email [email protected], and we would be happy to assist.