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Actual use of confidential information central to damages claim

The High Court has found two ex-employees of the claimant liable for breaching their duties of confidence, but has rejected the claim for substantial damages. Instead, they were awarded the nominal sum of £2.

The Claimant had sought "jackpot damages" of £15 million, based on the defendants' breaches of duty in copying and retaining confidential files. Crucially, the case was not brought on the basis that the misuse of confidential information had caused the claimant to suffer any loss or resulted in the defendants making any financial gain.

The court concluded that it was only if the defendants had actually made any use of the files, that it might have been possible to demonstrate that they obtained a significant benefit from the confidential information. However, in the case of one of the defendants, the copied files were never subsequently accessed or used. The other defendant had made limited use of a few files, but the claimant had not sought a remedy for the use actually made.

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