0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

how can we keep our ideas confidential?

1 February 2018

This video explains the law of confidentiality and gives some best practice advice on how you can keep your ideas secure and safe.



To a degree the law of confidentiality is quite straight forward. In essence it protects information which is confidential. To be confidential and to keep information confidential when you pass it to another party the information must not be available to the public and must therefore have the necessary quality of being confidential. The information must also be imparted in circumstances which show the party that is receiving it that it is confidential and this can be because it is received under a non-disclosure agreement or simply because it has got a big stamp on the front of it that says 'confidential'.

Therefore, confidentiality is as much about business hygiene as it is about law.

Some of those conditions apply to the individual option holder, for example one of them is that the individual must work at least 25 hours a week, or if less at least 75% of their working time in the business in question. Some of the conditions relate to the company who is granting the option for example the company mustn’t have more than 250 full time equivalent employees so this is a good one for startups because clearly that box is ticked.

If you want to keep an invention or innovation confidential and keep it secret, then what’s really important is that you show anyone else who may come across it that it is confidential information and that you have good business practice in place to keep this information secure and keep it safe.

focus on...


FAQs for startups

Below are some of the questions we are regularly asked by startups, covering a range of topic areas.


Legal updates

Changes to Tier 1- Introducing the New ‘Innovator’ and ‘Start-up' visas

The Home Office recently announced substantial changes to Tier 1 of the PBS.


Is software patentable?

In this video Giles explains what a ‘technical contribution’ is, the five signposts for determining whether your software has technical contribution, and what this means for software patents.


Can we protect coding or software?

This video explains who has the right to file for a patent - whether an individual, an employee or a consultant - and how you can ensure that you protect your intellectual property and your business.


The opinions expressed on this video are provided for the purposes of general interest and information and should not be relied upon. They contain only summaries of aspects of the subject matter at the time of publishing and do not provide comprehensive statements of the law. They do not constitute legal advice and do not provide a substitute for it. So why not talk to us and seek advice that's tailored to you? You can look up one of our experts on this website or call on 0370 270 6000.

mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up