Breach of Confidence

To ensure protection of an idea, it must meet the minimum requirement of being well-formed and viable enough to be transformed into a reality. Once the idea or concept reaches this stage, privacy laws mandate that individuals who possess knowledge or require information regarding the invention are obliged to maintain confidentiality and avoid any breaches of trust.

Meaning of Breach of Confidence

The legislation governing violation of confidentiality is intended to safeguard confidential information, which in turn enables creators to safeguard their notions and principles and enjoy the benefits of their hard work and insight. It is noteworthy that the confidentiality law safeguards concepts, notions, and visions even before they can be actualized. The recipient of the idea may be prohibited from exploiting it and disseminating it to others.

Basic Necessities for Breach of Confidence

An applicant must meet the following requirements.

  • The data should possess the essential attribute of trustworthiness;

  • The data should have been disclosed in a situation that implies a duty of confidentiality;

  • There should be an unlawful exploitation of that data that harms the disclosing party.

Defenses for Breach of Confidence

There are various defenses that may be accessible to an individual who has been charged with violating confidentiality, based on the particular circumstances of each case.

Some of the followings are

  • Public Interest: The accused can demonstrate that the divulged details were revealed owing to a lawful concern of public welfare (such as if the information pertained to an impending danger to public health or safety).

  • Consent: The accused can establish that they revealed the private details with the plaintiff's authorization.

  • Non-Confidential: The data in query is considered to be non-sensitive in character.

  • Public Domain: The accused can demonstrate that the data revealed is already accessible to the public.

Remedies for Breach of Confidence

Following are the major remedies for breach of confidence −

  • Accounts of Profits: The claimant could receive this fair solution if the violator profits from the violation of trust, or if there is an expectation that the violator will profit from the violation of trust.

  • Injunction: The claimant could potentially secure a restraining order to prevent the accused from divulging the sensitive data or utilizing it in any other way.

  • Constructive Trust: In situations where the defendant has breached confidentiality, resulting in the plaintiff being stripped of their rights related to the disclosed sensitive information, the plaintiff may be granted this fair solution. In such an event, any profits gained by the defendant will be kept in trust for the plaintiff's benefit.

  • Damages: The claimant can receive reparation for any harm or injury endured due to the revelation of the information.

Doctrine of Springboard

The principle of violating confidentiality similarly prohibits a merchant from utilizing the data provided by their customer to construct or offer services under their own name.

Example: Robert contracted with Alpha Corporation to manufacture a distinctive type of plastic, which has been available on the market for approximately one year. The doctrine of springboard prohibits Alpha Corporation from utilizing the knowledge shared by Robrt to develop a similar plastic product for a specified period, despite the fact that the plastic is already accessible in the market. This regulation exists to ensure that Alpha Corporation does not unfairly benefit from Robert's confidential manufacturing process.

Contract of Employment

According to business law, an employee's employment contract directly or implicitly imposes the duty of confidentiality on them.

  • An employee is not required to remain silent regarding wrongdoing or illegal activity by their employer.

  • Only the trade secret is the employee's responsibility.

  • Any employee is free to use the abilities, expertise, know-how, and general knowledge that they may have developed while working for the company. These abilities and general knowledge belong to the employee.

Non- Contractual Relationship

A fiduciary (trust) relationship, such as one between a lawyer and a client or a doctor and a patient, as well as those between husbands and wives, friends, and even patients and doctors, all fall under the obligation of confidence.

Categories of Confidential Information

Medical records, employment files, or even personally identifiable information that should be kept private could all be considered confidential information. Confidential information, however, typically falls into one of three categories −

  • Trade secrets

  • Government secrets

  • Private personal information

The important thing is that the confidential information was shared and that someone else benefited in some way, whether financially or otherwise. Courts must hear all the facts in order to determine responsibility in a breach of confidence action because each case is fact-specific.

Difference Between Confidentiality and Privacy

Privacy is a personal matter. Everyone is entitled to her own privacy in her personal area. There is no public intervention, and these private matters are not supposed to be disclosed. Privateness is a personal decision. The most general and popular understanding of privacy transmits ideas of withdrawal, seclusion, secrecy, or being kept out of the public eye, but without any negative implications. Only information is confidential, and when two people are aware of it, they must keep it secret until the owner of the knowledge gives you permission. Information confidentiality is required by law and industry standards. Other people need to uphold confidentiality.

Case Law

Mr. X v. Hospital Z: In the current instance, identities were withheld because the court is required in some circumstances to do so since doing so could subject the parties to social censure. The names of the parties must be kept confidential in accordance with Section 34 of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act of 2017. The appellant X went to the hospital Z to get his blood transfused, according to the case's circumstances.

His marriage was called off, and he also had to leave his job and home because of societal criticism after the doctor who had taken a sample of his blood and examined it discovered that he was HIV (+). The hospital authorities had done this without X's permission. X claimed that hospital administrators were required to keep his suffering a secret but instead they disclosed it to a third party, violating his right to privacy.

He then turned to the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) for compensation. The NCDRC, however, rejected the appeal and advised X to go to civil court. As a result, it is clear from the ruling that the HIV/AIDS patient's right to wed is not suspended. With the other spouse's knowledge and permission, they may get married.


In the modern world, it is crucial to protect your information, and the law can assist with this. If someone has given you access to their information, you are obligated to keep it private until they give you permission. Your reputation and ethics are also at stake, in addition to your obligation. Because medical records reveal a lot about you and can be used against you.


Q1. What do you mean by Abuse?

Ans. Abuse is the wrong handling or use of something, frequently done to unfairly or improperly benefit from it. Abuse can take many different forms, including physical or verbal harm, injury, assault, violation, rape, unfair treatment, criminal activity, and other forms of violence.

Q2. What is sexual slavery?

Ans. Any ownership claim over one or more individuals is attached in sexual slavery and sexual exploitation with the goal of coercing or otherwise compelling the subject to engage in sexual activity. This involves child sexual trafficking, forced labor, being reduced to a servile status (including forced marriage), and sex trafficking victims.

Q3. What does the term Aggression define?

Ans. Aggression is the angry state of mind, that can badly affect the physical and mental health of a person. Although it can be channeled into creative and useful channels for some, aggression is overt or covert social engagement with the goal of causing injury or other harm to another person.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023


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