A new European trade secrets regime takes shape
By Rainer Schultes and Paul England
On 28 November 2013, the European Commission announced a proposal for a directive on trade secrets and confidential information. Presuming the directive eventually passes into legislation, the provisions of the commission’s ‘proposal for a directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure’ will be the first to attempt to harmonise the national trade secret laws of EU member countries. This promises a significant step forward in terms of domestic and cross-border certainty for companies in the life sciences sector, for whom trade secret protection is vital.
In overview, the proposed directive currently intends to adopt: common definitions of trade secrets and confidential business information and circumstances when the acquisition, use and disclosure of a trade secret is unlawful; measures, procedures and remedies that should be made available to the holder of a trade secret in case of unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of that trade secret; and sanctions in case of non-compliance with the measures provided and provisions on monitoring and reporting.
This article examines the above features of the proposed directive and how they are intended to apply…
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