Confidentiality Clause in Switzerland

Confidentiality Clause in Switzerland

Updated on Saturday 22nd August 2015

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Confidentiality-Clause-in-SwitzerlandSwiss legislation on confidentiality

Switzerland does not have a specific legislation governing confidentiality, however most laws contain provisions about confidentiality clauses and how they can be enforced without affecting any of the parties entering in such clauses. Swiss courts also recognize confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements considering such practices are very common nowadays. The laws containing provisions about the confidentiality clauses are:

  • - the Federal Constitution,
  • - the Employment Law,
  • - the Federal Act on Work in Industry,
  • - the Swiss Civil Code,
  • - the intellectual property legislation.

Confidentiality clauses are also treated on a case-by-case basis in Switzerland. A common practice in Switzerland is for collective employment contracts to contain confidentiality clauses.

The duty of confidentiality in Switzerland

The duty of confidentiality is usually employed in arbitration procedures in Switzerland. The arbitration legislation considers mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods as contracts which implicitly results in confidentiality.

Confidentiality clauses are also employed by Swiss companies with respect to their trade secrets when it is considered that employees have the duty of confidentiality, thus the obligation of not revealing confidential information or trade secrets. Among these, IT companies use confidentiality clauses but also make use of the Swiss Intellectual Property Law which enables them to protect their registered patents or trademarks.

Confidentiality agreements in Switzerland

Often Swiss companies prefer to conclude confidentiality agreements with their employees which differ from regular employment contracts. Swiss confidentiality agreements will usually contain all the information about the data subject to the contract. This information often refers to the commercial, technical or legal aspect of the data. Confidential information will be used only by the interested parties. Both Swiss confidentiality clauses and agreements are usually signed for determined period of times but may end later than the date provided in the agreement in order to protect trade secrets.

For more information about the legal implications of confidentiality clauses, please contact our lawyers in Switzerland.