Coco v AN Clark (Engineers) Ltd (1969)
Forthcoming in J. Bellido, Landmark Cases in Intellectual Property Law (Hart, 2017)
50 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2017 Last revised: 18 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 11, 2017
Coco v Clark is assumed to have ‘foundational status’ in the law of confidentiality. Yet this is surprising given that the case was a motion for an interlocutory injunction and because earlier Court of Appeal decisions, beginning with Saltman Engineering Co Ltd v Campbell Engineering Co Ltd, had already recognised that a duty of confidentiality could arise in equity, independently of contract. This chapter therefore interrogates the extent to which Coco may be legitimately considered a landmark case and argues that this characterisation is justified. This is because of the substantial influence that Megarry J’s formulation of the action for breach of confidence has had in England and Wales, Ireland and throughout the Commonwealth.
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