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Saltman Engineering Co Ltd V Campbell Engineering Ltd2 - Essay Example

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The opening of the report consists of the background information about Saltman Engineering Co Ltd V Campbell Engineering Ltd case. The paper also presents equity and the breach of confidentiality and exceptions to the breach of confidence concept…
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Saltman Engineering Co Ltd V Campbell Engineering Ltd2
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Download file to see previous pages This essay discusses that where information has economic value, it can be treated like any form of consideration. This is because it has a worth which becomes the property of the original owner or holder of it. And as such, when the 'owner' of such information feels his rights have been breached, he can take legal action against any losses. This situation has led to the development of confidentiality laws. Cases involving the abuse of rights to information are handled under the category of breach of confidence. In the earliest cases of the 19th century, people who brought action for the breach of confidence were required to show proof of a contract that restrained the defendants from making economic use of information given to them. This means that the initial courts invoked a common law position which required plaintiffs to insert clauses in the contracts they signed which involved the transfer of information that could potentially be used to the advantage of defendants. However in Saltman Engineering Co Ltd V Campbell Engineering Ltd a significantly different ruling came to force. In this case, Saltman Engineering conceived a business idea. They asked Campbell Engineering to draw up the plan and put it on course for the commercialisation of the invention. Campbell instructed a third party company to proliferate the idea and put the final product on the marketplace as though it was Campbell Engineering's original invention. Saltman Engineering took the matter to court. ...
The case was therefore decided in favour of Saltman Engineering. This case was decided on the basis of equity. In other words, the common law position which required plaintiffs to show proof that there was some kind of contract which restrained the defendant from giving off the information was sidelined and the court pursued fairness. This laid the precedence for courts to use the principles of equity to decide cases involving the breach of confidence. Equity and the Breach of Confidentiality The concept of the breach of confidence was to be decided on the basis of equity rather than common law after the Saltman case. From the way it emerged, the concept of confidentiality was to cut across four main aspects of interaction and communication: personal information3, government information, artistic/literary secrets and trade secrets4. However, there was an issue related to the invocation of equity in cases relating to confidentiality. This mainly has to do with the inherent nature of the development of the principles of equity. By default, equity acts in personam and this therefore means that every case had to be examined according to the special facts and cases relating to it. This meant that the courts would always have to spend considerable time looking at the main elements of each case they receive, appraise it and take decisions where appropriate. This called for the need to build some hedges around the concept of the breach of contract and define the parameters of this legal concept. This finally came in the landmark case of Coco V AN Clark5 where Judge Megarry made the landmark ruling: 'I doubt whether equity would intervene unless the circumstances are of sufficient gravity: equity ought ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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