Confidential information and trade secrets in employment
Produced in partnership with Ruaraidh Fitzpatrick of Cloisters
Confidential information and trade secrets in employment

The following Employment practice note Produced in partnership with Ruaraidh Fitzpatrick of Cloisters provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Confidential information and trade secrets in employment
  • Categories of information—generally
  • Distinguishing between trade secrets and confidential information
  • Distinguishing between confidential information, general skill and knowledge and other information
  • Information which ceases to be a trade secret or confidential
  • The implied duty—during employment
  • The implied duty—after employment
  • The implied duties—exceptions
  • Defences
  • Publication
  • More...

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: Brexit and IP completion day—implications for employment lawyers.

As noted in Practice Note: The duty of fidelity and fiduciary duties, the duty of fidelity implied into every contract of employment will generally prevent an employee from disclosing to third parties confidential information which comes to their knowledge during the course of their employment. In addition to this, certain very confidential information, generally known as trade secrets, will be protected by the equitable duty of confidence. These two duties have combined historically to determine the implied duty on an employee in relation to confidential information.

The manner in which business information is categorised is therefore very important; while an employee will be under an implied duty not to disclose trade secrets and/or confidential information to third parties during employment, only the implied duty not to disclose trade secrets will continue after the employment ceases.

An exception to this general rule is that

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