28th May 2014

Step towards new EU rules on the protection of trade secrets

On 26 May, the Competitiveness Council adopted at its meeting a negotiation position aimed at reaching a deal with the future MEPs concerning new EU rules on the protection of trade secrets. Inside information such as know-how is as important as formalized patents for enterprises and is too often subject to theft – according to the Council 1 in 5 EU businesses saw an attempt at a trade secret theft in the last year. In order to strengthen the position of the lawful owners of various trade secrets, the Commission proposed in November 2013 a new directive. The directive should make it easier for national courts to deal with trade secrets thefts and for rightful owners of misappropriated information to get fair compensation and achieve removal of trade secrets infringing products from the market. The main goals to be achieved in future negotiations, according to the Council, are: minimum harmonization with a possibility of tougher national rules, common principles and definitions in line with international agreements, limitation period of six years for claims before courts, confidentiality of legal proceedings and a favorable liability regime for employees who commit trade secret violation without intent. Negotiations with the newly-elected MEPs will begin once the new EP starts to function. After the final adoption, the rules would come into force within one year.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic