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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Law (5th edn)

Lionel Bently, Brad Sherman, Dev Gangjee, and Phillip Johnson
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date: 30 May 2023

p. 123545. Obligation of confidencelocked

p. 123545. Obligation of confidencelocked

  • L. Bently, L. BentlyHerchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property, University of Cambridge
  • B. Sherman, B. ShermanProfessor of Law, University of Queensland
  • D. GangjeeD. GangjeeAssociate Professor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Oxford
  •  and P. JohnsonP. JohnsonProfessor of Commercial Law, Cardiff University


This chapter considers one requirement in a breach of confidence action: that the defendant was under a legal (as opposed merely to a moral) obligation of confidentiality. It first looks at the basic test for a confidence arising that is ‘knowledge’ or ‘notice’. More specifically, it examines the duties that arise where the parties are in a direct relationship, where there is an indirect relationship, and where no relationship exists. It also describes the duties that arise when the parties are in an employment relationship and tackles the question as to whether (and if so, when) strangers come under an obligation of confidentiality.

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