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27.Februar 2015

Proposed harmonization of the law on trade secrets in the European Union

Aus den Bereichen: Unternehmen

On 28 November 2013 the European Commission published proposals for a directive on Trade Secrets. The Directive aims to protect trade secrets from unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure. It also seeks to harmonize the national laws of Member States by establishing  -       common definitions of trade secrets and confidential business information,  -       procedures and remedies in the event of their unlawful acquisition and disclosure and -       sanctions in the event of non-compliance such procedures and remedies. The Directive is currently progressing through the European legislative process. If adopted, Member States will have a further two years to implement the proposals. It is expected that the final Directive will be published by summer 2015. Why is there a need for reform?  Trade secrets (know-how, secret processes, customer lists etc.) are undoubtedly essential to the success of any business. They are important for competitiveness and innovation. The absence of harmonized measures to protect trade secrets in the European Union gives rise to uncertainty and unnecessary cost and barriers when it comes to cross border investment and innovation activities. This puts European companies at a disadvantage in comparison to their US or Japanese counterparts, who enjoy better levels of protection. The Directive seeks to put in place protective measures which are similar to those adopted in the US. We will continue to report on developments.

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