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Confidential Information/Trade Secrets

Any confidential information which provides an organization with a competitive advantage, is not common knowledge, and is protected from disclosure by the company, may be deemed a trade secret. A trade secret usually contains confidential information which derives independent economic value from not being publicly known, such as undisclosed sales methods, distribution methods, consumer profiles, advertising strategies, lists of suppliers and clients, manufacturing processes, formulas, patterns, schematics, computer code, chemical diagrams, devices, and any techniques that an organization deems as important enough to restrict to their most trusted employees.

Companies regularly endeavour to learn each another's trade secrets through lawful methods such as reverse engineering or employee poaching on one hand, and potentially unlawful methods such as industrial espionage on the other.

Trade secrets and confidential information are treated in much the same way in Canada, with the exception of employee obligations that they act in good faith and not use or disclose information which has a sufficiently high degree of confidentiality that it amounts to a trade secret. Legal protections to safeguard information leakage by inept or malicious employees can include non-disclosure agreements and non-compete clauses.

If you have found that your trade secrets and confidential information have been leaked, you must act fast to protect misappropriated confidential information and trade secrets from spreading. Likewise, if you find yourself accused as being in breach of non-disclosure agreements, non-compete agreements or face action over using a licensed patents of information, please contact our IP litigation team today.

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