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Using contracts to protect confidential, sensitive information

| Apr 30, 2021 | Business Law

Proprietary information can be the very thing that keeps a business competitive in the market. It has value because it involves a product, process or system that is not generally known to the public.

Thus, keeping this information secure can be a top priority for any business owner in British Columbia. To do this, owners can explore contracts that can protect sensitive information.

Types of agreements to consider

One option to protect private information is a confidentiality agreement. These contracts restrict parties from directly or indirectly sharing or disclosing confidential data. They can also include remedies for potential violations and methods of enforcing the agreement.

Another option is a noncompetition agreement or restrictive covenant. These clauses restrict employee actions after they leave a company as a means of protecting information. Covenants prohibit employees from working in certain geographic regions or at specific companies for a period of time after leaving their current employer.

The type of contract that can work best for you depends on the information, the employee and your needs.

Ensuring your contracts are enforceable

These agreements can be valuable tools for organizations. However, they may also introduce new legal challenges. Mistakes in how a business drafts or enforces contracts can result in costly losses or avoidable litigation. 

Some common missteps business owners make when creating these contracts include:

  • Failing to identify protected information correctly
  • Including unreasonable restrictions in terms of scope or duration of the agreement
  • Being overzealous by having employees sign agreements even if they have no access to or knowledge of proprietary information
  • Including ambiguous or vague clauses
  • Overlooking rules for properly signing contracts

Under these circumstances, a contract may not hold up under scrutiny. If a person challenges it, a court could deem it unenforceable. 

Thus, business owners across British Columbia can better protect proprietary information by thoroughly assessing their legal options and needs. Consulting a lawyer to ensure the agreements are valid will also be crucial.

Our firm has established this blog to share news, stories and information about legal topics that are relevant to our areas of practice. Our goal is to keep our clients informed regarding new and current legal issues that may affect them. Please check back with us soon for our next post.