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How can information in the public domain be confidential information?

There are at least 3 types of publicly known information that can be confidential information:

  1. Customer lists
    • A customer list contains customers' names, addresses, phone numbers and other contact information.
    • All that information is public information, and can be reproduced from any telephone directory.
    • However, it is confidential information when it is in the form of a list of your customers.
  2. Information not generally known
    • You may be aware of technical information that is commercially valuable.
    • You suspect that some of your competitors may also be aware of that technical information. Your competitors may have developed the solutions you have found, based on the same technical information, if they have faced and overcome the same technical problems and challenges that you have faced.
    • However, your technical information is still your confidential information. Not all your competitors may know it, and you may prefer to keep it that way. In addition, you may have developed a variation on that technical information that may make it more valuable than your competitors' technical information.
  3. Unique combination of public information
    • Another category is where you have recognised that you can combine public information from different sources, and when that information is used in that combination it has unique properties, or achieves a particular technical desirable result.
    • While pieces of technical information may be public information, your unique development of combining them makes the combined information confidential.