What is an NDA?
Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) or confidentiality agreements have had a bad press in recent times. Whilst they have been used to prevent wronged individuals from telling the truth, they do have a very important purpose protecting legitimate commercial and other interests.
An NDA is almost always the first contract put in place between two parties looking to do a deal. It preserves the confidentiality of information, products and processes shared by either party, some of which is likely to be commercially sensitive.
Similarly, confidentiality agreements and confidentiality clauses protect the specifics of commercial deals which is important for both sides of the deal.
The law of confidentiality can be helpful even without an agreement, but to take advantage of the full protection of the law, additional documents are needed, and if you are creating intellectual property then even more so.
Confidentiality is also a key part of the protection of know-how. Sometimes whilst valuable commercial information is not capable of protection under applicable intellectual property law, the capture of know-how and its protection by confidentiality can be almost as useful. Indeed there are times when secrecy is a better solution to technical advances than application for a patent which requires the disclosure to the world of the invention.
Data Protection, Privacy and GDPR
Protection of personal data is important to individuals, and businesses are increasingly needing to respond to this pressure – and balance it against their commercial interests, public opinion, and the laws of data protection.
GDPR has changed the way businesses need to handle data, enforcement by the information commissioner’s office (ICO) is stronger, and the consequences of non-compliance are greater (look at BA’s fine of £183M). As a result the risks to business are considerably higher.
Unfortunately Data protection law is centered around principles and behaviours which can make interpretation and application of the law difficult.
Data protection solicitors can help advise on applicable data protection fees, whether your business needs to have a Data Protection Officer (DPO), whether a data breach should be reported to the ICO, and what documents should be kept.
Data protection lawyers can also advise on appropriate data security arrangements that should be in place, including having in place adequate IT security infrastructure. In the event of a data breach, in certain circumstances data subjects can be entitled to data breach compensation. Data protection solicitors can advise on the merits of any claim you may have, or how to handle a data breach.