Intellectual Property: Handling confidential information

As you start your business it is important to safeguard certain pieces of information related to your business.

This information includes trade secrets and personal or private information. It is important to know how to protect such information as your business grows in order to maintain that competitive edge.

The law of breach of confidence is concerned with the protection of business transactions & negotiations, secrets or commercially valuable information that may have been communicated or obtained in confidence.

READ ALSO: Drafting an arbitration clause

In Ghana, there is no statute law on confidential information. Rules governing it are, therefore, are based on the provisions of the common law.

When your confidential information is breached, it is possible to maintain an action in court for that breach.

However, for your information to be treated as confidential and subject to protection by the law it must meet some requirements.


  1.  Quality of confidence: The information itself must have the necessary quality of confidence about it. It may be technical, commercial or private. This means that it should not already be in the public domain.
  2. Obligation of Confidence: It must have been imparted to another person in circumstances importing the obligation of confidence. This arises from the circumstances in which the information was imparted to that person. The closeness of relationship entails that some information will pass between the parties which is likely to be considered as confidential. Eg Employer-employee Relationship; Former employee obligation etcetera.
  3. Unauthorised use of information: There must be an unauthorised use of the information by the person to whom the information was given to the detriment of the owner of the confidential information.

Further, you must have taken enough steps so that non – members of the company could not access that information. This action will not succeed if you gave consent to its divulgence.


You can sue for an Injunction to prevent the divulgence; Damages for the breach; Accounts for profits derived from the breach; Delivery up and Destruction of Articles in relation to the confidential information.

Now with this little insight, you know how to protect that important business information!

Key word:

Trade Secrets: Any confidential business information that provides an enterprise with a competitive edge over others.

READ ALSO: Mergers and acquisitions; taking the right steps


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