Protecting Trade Secrets in Europe
The European Parliament has voted in favour of the trade secrets directive, which is designed to harmonise the protection of trade secrets in the member states of the European Union. Under the directive, a trade secret is defined as “providing commercial value to a company because it is secret”. It will mean that companies that keep technical and commercial information secret will be able to take action more easily against the theft of such secrets.
The directive still has to be implemented into national law, which may take a few years.
The final version of the directive contains provisions to ensure that the legislation does not curb media freedom or restrict the work of journalists. It also has provisions to ensure that employees are only restricted when changing jobs when they have agreed to these restrictions in advance. This is still a subject of national employment law.
This new piece of legislation is a major improvement on the current system of differing laws in Europe and should lead to a more consistent approach. It will improve protection for unpatented and unpatentable inventions, as well as for commercially relevant information. It will be up to companies however to make sure that systems are put in place to ensure that the information is protected.
We’d be delighted to support you if you need any support in implementing programmes to comply with the new rules firstname.lastname@example.org