How do I protect my confidential information in litigation?
A lawsuit isn’t a walk in the park—most people don’t want to be sued or have to do the suing, but sometimes recourse to the courts is the best way of righting a wrong. What happens when your lawsuit requires the disclosure of trade secrets and confidential and proprietary information? Dealing with a lawsuit is difficult enough, but worrying about the ruin of your business as a result of mandatory document production in the litigation process creates even greater stress.
Luckily, there are a few tools that can be used to protect that valuable information. The most comprehensive of these is the Confidentiality or Protective Order. Such an order can be drafted to be as broad or limited as needed and typically includes the following protections:
- Requires that all documents, information, and testimony containing confidential and proprietary information be kept confidential—for the eyes of only those individuals listed in the agreement
- Defines what type of information is considered confidential and proprietary and what constitutes a trade secret
- Explains how such information shall be identified and marked
- Explains how such information shall be used during the litigation process
- Prohibits the disclosure of the information to third parties
- Requires that notice of confidentiality be given to all who have access to such information
- Allows for additional protections from the public if such information has to be filed with the court
- Provides for a withdrawal of information should it be inadvertently disclosed
- Provides for penalties for disclosure of information
- Requires the destruction or deletion of all such information upon final settlement or adjudication of the lawsuit
A Confidentiality or Protective Order can be agreed-to by the parties in the suit, in which case both parties have an input as to the terms and conditions of the agreement. Or the order can be granted by the court upon a motion by one of the parties if that party can show that there is a genuine need for the protection of certain information and trade secrets.
The most important thing you can do is inform your attorneys immediately of any concerns you may have about information needing to be protected. Attorneys at Waldron & Schneider are experienced in dealing with various matters concerning trade secrets, intellectual property, and confidential and proprietary information whether a lawsuit is ongoing or a dispute is only beginning to form.
The legal information in this blog entry is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Further, nothing contained in this article is intended to create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. This article and website are made available by Waldron & Schneider for educational purposes only and to give basic information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Waldron & Schneider. The article and website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. For more information or questions you can contact us and one of our attorneys will be in touch soon.