Trade secrets and confidential information—protection and enforcement
Produced in partnership with William Smith of Bird & Bird LLP

The following Information Law practice note produced in partnership with William Smith of Bird & Bird LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Trade secrets and confidential information—protection and enforcement
  • Introduction to the laws protecting confidential information and trade secrets in the UK
  • Brexit
  • What is confidential information?
  • Necessary quality of confidence
  • Situations imposing an obligation of confidence
  • Commercial situations giving rise to confidentiality disputes
  • Information v knowledge
  • Relationship with other causes of action
  • Dealing with the creation and transfer of confidential information in non-contentious situations
  • More...

Trade secrets and confidential information—protection and enforcement

This Practice Note sets out the protection available for trade secrets and confidential information in a commercial context, in particular in cases where technical information is involved. It outlines the law under the Trade Secrets (Enforcement, etc) Regulations 2018, SI 2018/597 (Trade Secrets Regulations) and its interplay with common law principles of breach of confidence.

This Practice Note also covers:

  1. the way in which breach of confidence interacts with infringement of intellectual property rights and other causes of action

  2. the definitions of ‘confidential information’, ‘trade secrets’ and ‘know-how’ and how these concepts are dealt with in a commercial context

  3. case law relating to secondary liability, common design and knowledge of breach, as well as the position regarding subconscious use, derivative use and reverse engineering, and

  4. the remedies that are available for breach of confidence, including injunctions, springboard injunctions, damages, account of profits, delivery up and destruction

Introduction to the laws protecting confidential information and trade secrets in the UK

Historically, the UK had no statutory regime to address the protection of trade secrets and other technical confidential information. Their protection derived from equitable common law principles. However, in 2016, the EU adopted Directive (EU) 2016/943 (OJ L 157/1) on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure (EU Trade Secrets Directive).

Chapter II

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