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Trade secrets, know-how and confidential information

1. What are trade secrets, know-how, or confidential information? Confidential information is any type of information that you regard as confidential. Trade secrets and know-how are subsets of confidential information.
Confidential information can be business information such as financial records, marketing plans, customer lists etc. Trade secrets and know-how can include all types of technical information.
2. How should I treat my confidential information? To be afforded protection the information needs to be treated as being confidential, For example, it should be marked as being confidential, kept in a secure place when not actively in use, shared only with those on a need-to-know basis, all copies are accounted for, etc.
3. What rights do trade secrets, know-how, or confidential information give me? You can use your trade secrets, know-how, and confidential information. If your trade secrets, know-how, or confidential information have been misappropriated, you can commence proceedings against the person that misappropriated them.
4. Does a trade secret, know-how, or confidential information need to be registered? No.
5. How long do these types of intellectual property rights last? For as long as they remain outside the public domain.
6. How can I protect my trade secrets, know-how, or confidential information from misuse by my employees? By having clear confidentiality obligations in employment agreements.
7. How can I protect my trade secrets, know-how, or confidential information from misuse by contractors and consultants that I engage? By having clear confidentiality obligations in your agreements engaging consultants and contractors.
8. How can I protect trade secrets, know-how, or confidential information from misuse if I disclose them to business associates? By having a well-drafted confidentiality agreement.