If you are wondering whether this topic is relevant to your practice area, be assured that it probably is. The universe of what can qualify as confidential information is vast and touches on essentially every practice area. Thus, every practitioner should at least have a working knowledge of how to identify confidential information, including some of the most common scenarios for which the need to protect said confidential information comes into play.
Confidential information is the least tangible form of intellectual property because it is not registrable; but lack of registrability makes it no less important or protectable. Confidential information may be your client’s most valuable, yet unrealized, asset. Why? Because a business’s value is becoming increasingly tied to its intellectual property, which is comprised, in no small part, of confidential information. Virtually every one of your clients will have this type of intellectual property.
Confidential information, in broad terms, is information not generally known to persons outside the business and generally something that gives the business a competitive advantage. However, the information does not have to give the business a competitive advantage; it may simply be information that a company doesn’t want disclosed. Worth noting, is that confidential information actually encompasses proprietary information. While the terms “confidential information” and “proprietary information” are often used interchangeably, confidential information does not have to be information that is only owned by your client, e.g., the existence of a contract between two parties may be confidential but not proprietary.