breach of confidence

Are fiduciary duties owed by former directors?

Company directors owe various duties to their company and its shareholders.  For example, sections 180, 181, 182, 183 and 184 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)(Act) impose statutory duties to exercise care and diligence, maintain good faith and refrain from using their position or information to gain an advantage for themselves.  However, the legislation, barring section 183, does not clearly express the extent to which these duties, as well as similar common law duties, continue to apply after a director has ceased being the director of a company.  Addressing this shortfall, the Court in Advanced Fuels Technology Pty Ltd v Blythe & Ors [2018] VSC 286 (Advanced Fuels) found that whether or not these duties endure after the cessation of a directorship depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. [Read more…]

Compilations from the public domain – confidential or not?

In the case of Ezystay Systems Pty Ltd v Link 2 Pty Ltd [2014] NSWSC 180 (Ezystay) it was held that the plaintiff’s business manuals were confidential despite having been compiled from the documents in “public domain”.  On Appeal, the Court had to re-visit the test for confidential information to determine whether or not the respondents’ software, business manuals and other documents collated from the public domain were in fact capable of being protected as confidential information.

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Tort of conspiracy & confidential information

The tort of conspiracy has been well established in Australia by the High Court, however it is a fairly uncommon cause of action.  The High Court has endorsed some early UK decisions with respect to damage, including the cases of Mogul Steamship Co v McGregor Gow & Co [1892] and Sorrel v Smith [1925] AC 700.  [Read more…]

Injunctions for breach of confidence

The recent Federal Court case of Howden Australia Pty Ltd v Minetek Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 981 highlights some of the challenges faced by applicants when attempting to establish that a breach of confidential information has taken place, and the steps required to obtain an interim injunction prior to the ultimate determination of a matter. [Read more…]

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