Trade secrets protection: New directive

The Council of the European Union has adopted a directive setting out rules for the protection of trade secrets and confidential information of EU companies.

Compensation to trade secret holders: In accordance with the new legal framework, EU member states will have to provide for the measures, procedures and remedies necessary to ensure the availability of civil redress against the illegal acquisition, use and disclosure of trade secrets.

These will have to be fair, effective and dissuasive. They must not be unnecessarily complicated or costly, nor may they entail unreasonable time limits or unwarranted delays. The limitation period for claims will not exceed six years.

Trade secret holders will be entitled to apply for remedies in case of damages following cases of illegal appropriation of documents, objects, materials, substances or electronic files containing a trade secret or from which a trade secret can be deduced.

Where necessary, confidentiality of trade secrets will also be preserved during the course of and after the legal proceedings.

After publication of the directive in the Official Journal of the EU and its entry into force, member states will have a maximum of two years to incorporate the new provisions into domestic law.

For information to the status quo in Austria, see here: link

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