Move to unified European regime as trade secrets directive adopted by EU Parliament

25 April 2016. Published by David Cran, Partner, Head of IP & Tech and Louise Morgan, Senior Associate

Earlier this month, on 14 April 2016, the draft European Directive on the protection of trade secrets against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure was passed by the European Parliament (EP) at a first reading.

The proposed Directive aims to create a uniformity of protection for trade secrets within the EU.  It introduces a new definition of "Trade Secret" and covers rules dealing with the misuse of trade secrets, enforcement and remedies for misuse, while simultaneously seeking to protect the freedom of expression of journalists.  Member States will be free to provide more far-reaching protection if they wish, so long as certain safeguards in the Directive are met.

Currently each European country legislates on the protection of trade secrets in its own way, creating discrepancies in protection between jurisdictions, which the EU considers may create confusion and increase costs for companies trying to protect their trade secrets across Europe.

Now that the Directive has been accepted by the EP, it must also pass through a first reading by the Council of the E.U.

A report on the recent European Parliament session can be found here.

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