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L. Bently, B. Sherman, D. Gangjee, and P. Johnson

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.

Chapter

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. Another contribution of Equity to the common law landscape is the invention of several new and uniquely structured obligations, which restrict individual autonomy in special and rather aggressive ways. This chapter considers obligations that constrain the defendant's autonomy even when his impugned behaviour has caused the claimant no harm. It focuses on Equity's proscriptive rules. The best known are Equity's fiduciary obligations, which demand loyalty and self-denial from trustees and others whose roles entitle them to exercise discretion in managing property belonging to another. More generally, Equity regulates the exercise of all powers that are intended to affect the interests of others, regardless of whether the affected interests are proprietary or not. These are Equity's rules on abuse of power. Finally, Equity has particular strategies to regulate the use of information. These are Equity's rules on breach of confidence.

Chapter

All books in this flagship series contain carefully selected substantial extracts from key cases, legislation, and academic debate, providing able students with a stand-alone resource. This chapter focuses on the action for breach of confidence as it relates to commercial secrets. It first considers the jurisdictional basis of the action for breach of confidence and then discusses the elements for establishing a breach of confidence. The first element is that there must be confidential information; the second element is that the defendant comes under an obligation of confidence; the third element of a breach of confidence requires an unauthorized use of the information to the detriment of the person communicating it. The chapter also reviews the main confidentiality obligations that apply to employees and ex-employees with regards to commercial secrets.

Chapter

All books in this flagship series contain carefully selected substantial extracts from key cases, legislation, and academic debate, providing able students with a stand-alone resource. This chapter focuses on the action for breach of confidence as it relates to commercial secrets. It first considers the jurisdictional basis of the action for breach of confidence and then discusses the elements for establishing a breach of confidence. The first element is that there must be confidential information; the second element is that the defendant comes under an obligation of confidence; the third element of a breach of confidence requires an unauthorized use of the information to the detriment of the person communicating it. The chapter also reviews the main confidentiality obligations that apply to employees and ex-employees with regards to commercial secrets. Finally, the chapter considers UK implementation of the Trade Secrets Directive and its relationship to breach of confidence.