The Intellectual Property Department has stopped allowing people to inspect documents filed by companies challenging trademark applications online. A notice has been posted on its trademark search system saying that people who want to read the documents need to file a request by e-mail. The director of intellectual property, Stephen Selby, said: 'It provides a means for the public to exercise their right to access the information. However, we hope to find a way that is less cumbersome.' The latest development came after the Sunday Morning Post revealed last week that sensitive business information and personal data related to trademark proceedings had been uploaded onto the department's website. The leaked information included details of company turnover, profit margins, invoices and business registration licences, as well as copies of employees' passports. Mr Selby apologised on Monday, saying not enough had been done 'to avoid unsolicited personal or business information submitted by the public being published on the internet without their full knowledge'. All internet access to such information was then blocked, and now the documents are not allowed to be inspected online. 'We are continuing to assess the degree and nature of company data disclosure,' Mr Selby said. 'We have to study almost 11,600 documents. We have not received any complaints. No one has sought an apology or compensation.' The director said other measures were to be introduced concerning the case and the privacy issue on the department website. 'But we would like to obtain the advice of the Privacy Commissioner before discussing them in public. We hope to do so after Easter holidays,' he said. The department has not said how many companies were involved in the incident. It has said companies affected would be made aware of the department's actions. Under the law, documents relating to trademark proceedings should be available for public inspection. The department has explained that the confidential details were inadvertently included when companies filed their notices of opposition. A spokeswoman for the privacy commission said they were still investigating the case.