Unclean Hands

A concept in Equity Law, now often treated as a legal principle of general application, that bars relief to a party who has engaged in inequitable or poor, unethical behaviour itself relating to the case or defendant, including fraud, deceit, unconscionability, or bad faith from recovery for its own claims. It’s also known as the ‘clean hands’ or ‘dirty hands’ doctrine and is the subject of legal aphorisms like “he who weeks equity must do equity,” and “he who comes into equity must come with clean hands.” Since injunctive relief, typically sought in intellectual property infringement and trade secret cases, is an equitable remedy, the unclean hands doctrine may be particularly relevant in such cases.

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