Research agreements may include restrictions on disclosing any confidential information to a party outside the contract. ‘Confidential information’ may be defined broadly or narrowly in the contract, so may include, for example, sensitive information, commercial information or trade secrets, or in some cases may extend to all project results or information project.
Researchers should be aware of any confidentiality restrictions in the contract and ensure they will be able to comply with those restrictions. Any restrictions should be appropriate for the project and not excessive. Issues to consider include the scope of information, any exceptions, and the intended use of any project materials or results.
In particular, researchers should consider:
• if the use of project intellectual property or project results is restricted
• if publication rights are affected (see Publication)
• impact on any third parties or students involved in the project (see Student Involvement)
• if any particular security requirements are imposed.
One-way or mutual
Confidentiality requirements may apply mutually or to just one party. If the University intends to provide any confidential information to another party, it should ensure appropriate confidentiality provisions are imposed to protect against unauthorised disclosure or misuse of that information.
In some situations a standalone confidentiality deed (also known as a non-disclosure agreement) may be appropriate, if no agreement is in place with the recipient party.
Confidentiality provisions and deeds are signed by the University on behalf of employees. In some circumstances, a party may request staff to sign a confidentiality deed personally – any request should be referred to Legal Services first, who will advise on the appropriate signatory. If personal signature is required, the University will inform that staff member.
If you have any queries, please contact Legal Services for advice on 9479 2495.
This article provides general information only. It is not a complete or definitive statement of the law on the subject matter. Formal legal advice should be sought in relation to particular matters.