Trade secrets — new protection in the EU

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a directive on the protection of trade secrets.

Trade secrets (i.e. the know-how of a company that is not publicly available) are an important and invaluable intangible asset for a company to own. For example, the source code of computer software is often kept secret, even though the object code is released when the software is supplied to customers. This may allow the software company to keep a competitive edge over its rivals.

Surveys of intellectual property right owners regularly show that trade secrets are regarded by them as the most important protection for their innovations. Enforcement of rights in trade secrets is therefore of crucial commercial importance…

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