EU rules on protecting trade secrets

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive (EU) 2016/943 — protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

KEY POINTS

Lawful acquisition

Acquiring a trade secret is considered lawful if it is obtained by:

Acquisition, use or disclosure of a trade secret is also lawful when it is required or allowed by EU or national law.

Unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure

Acquiring a trade secret without the consent of the trade secret owner is unlawful if it is acquired by:

Use or disclosure of the trade secret without the owner’s consent is unlawful if a person:

The acquisition, use or disclosure will also be unlawful if the person concerned knew or ought to have known that the trade secret had been obtained directly or indirectly from another person who was using or disclosing the trade secret unlawfully.

Exceptions

The directive requires that where a person alleged to have acquired, used or disclosed a trade secret did so for one of the following reasons, any application for measures, procedures or remedies must be dismissed:

Measures, procedures and remedies

EU countries must provide measures, procedures and remedies that ensure that civil law redress* is available to victims of the illegal acquisition, use and disclosure of trade secrets.

The directive requires that measures, procedures and remedies are:

The limitation period for claims will not exceed 6 years.

Trade secret holders can apply for civil law remedies* in the case of the unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of the said trade secret, including:

FROM WHEN DOES IT APPLY?

It has applied from 5 July 2016. EU countries have to incorporate it into national law by 9 June 2018.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

* KEY TERMS

Redress: to set right, relieve or remedy a legal wrong. The means can include compensation for the wrong or compensation for injuries sustained; recovery or restitution for harm or injury or damages.

Remedies: the means by which a court enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes another court order to impose its will.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure (OJ L 157, 15.6.2016, pp. 1–18)

last update 22.11.2016