Confidential information & trade secrets

Proactively protect your competitive advantage without public disclosure and act promptly to prevent damage when a breach of confidence occurs.

Confidential information vs. trade secrets


Confidential information is information that is not generally known to the public. A trade secret is information that is not generally known within the industry and has commercial value to a business, such as a technique or method. A trade secret therefore provides the business with an advantage over its competitors.

Protecting confidential information and trade secrets


There is no requirement or ability to register confidential information and trade secrets in New Zealand. Their protection therefore falls under the tort of breach of confidence, the law of contract and employment law.

The tort of breach of confidence is based on the concept that those who receive confidential information should not be able to take unfair advantage of it. An obligation of confidence arises and usually remains until information independently reaches the public domain. This obligation of confidence extends to third parties. The courts can issue an injunction to temporarily or permanently prevent someone taking advantage of confidential information.

How can Baldwins help?


Using our experience and expertise, we work with clients to understand and isolate what confidential information is critical to our clients’ businesses, and how to best protect that information in practical terms and in written agreements.

We regularly draft and advise on confidentiality agreements. We also advise clients on related matters, such as restraints of trade and anti-solicitation clauses. If a business fears its confidential information has been misappropriated, we advise on the best strategy to retrieve that confidential information and prevent its further dissemination.

Where necessary to protect our clients’ interests, we file and pursue proceedings for breach of contract and breach of confidence claims in the courts, including on an urgent basis.

If you would like further information, please contact a member of our team.

Meet our experts

  • Sean Brogan
    Head of Commercial, Auckland

  • +64 9 359 7715
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  • Paul Johns
    Head of Dispute Resolution, Auckland

  • +64 9 359 7733
  • +64 27 558 5866
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  • Penny Catley
    Partner, Wellington

  • +64 4 910 6505
  • +64 21 660 645
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