How To Define Confidential Information

Have you happened to be trusted by anyone for information that is not supposed to be divulged? If yes, then you were just given a responsibility over confidential information. You do not have the option to actually tell it to anyone, unless given permission by the other party. This kind of information is some kind of confidential agreement between the two parties. Some popular examples of confidential information include:

  • Trade Secrets. Types of information that fall under trade secrets are recipes, formulae, production methods, test results, and source codes.
  • Business Secrets. This includes customer lists, budgets, marketing strategies, memoranda, and other information that can be of benefit to a business competitor.
  • Personal Information. Examples of this are photographs, diaries, and any private information of public information that can cause embarrassment to the person.
  • Professional Information. This covers patient to doctor information, client to lawyer information, confidential information memoranda, and other information obtained by a person in the course of practicing his profession.

Confidential information can be disclosed to a confidante in various ways, be it in writing or in verbal communication. However, there are other instances that can be considered as confidential. One example of this is when someone takes a shot of a person engaged in a private act. The person who took the shot has an obligation over the picture. If he, by any chance, publishes it, the person in the photo can file a suit against him.

To ensure that the information remains confidential, the confidante must be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. This is also known as a nondisclosure form, nondisclosure agreement, or confidentiality contract. In cases where a third party happens to know the information even by accident, the third party can be required to respect the confidentiality of the information that was disclosed to him. For better security, the discloser can require the third party to sign a nondisclosure form or agreement.

However, in times that the information is of commercial purpose, one way of protecting the information is by applying for a patent or a copyright. Another way of protecting confidential information is through injunction. It is one type of court order that terminates any attempt at disclosing the information.

There is still no internationally accepted policy in terms of laws protecting any confidential statement, however, there are countries that actually have designed laws with the purpose of protecting the confidentiality of the secret. Most of the time, the policy used for the breach of confidentiality is the right to privacy and the laws on obligations and contracts.

There are times that a confidentiality agreement can be broken. It is when the statement fails to be a secret already. This incident happens when the owner of the nondisclosure agreement publishes the same information to a public domain. Also, the confidentiality contract can be broken under the order of the court if the information being held confidential is of public interest.

With this, it is of great importance for everyone to have basic knowledge of confidential agreement. Every person needs to be sensitive enough over the information he has so as to lessen the chances of trouble.


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