Stay tuned for new harmonised protection of trade secrets in the EU

The deadline for the transposition of the new EU Trade Secrets Directive has been set for June 2018 (text: Eur-Lex).

Hence, national legislators across the EU have already launched the project studies analysing the potential issues that need to be addressed within the implementation procedure. One thing is for sure: national law has to be adjusted to the new EU-wide standards. But since the Directive follows the minimum harmonisation approach, Member States will still be free to provide for more far-reaching protection of trade secrets, respecting the safeguards as set in the provisions of the EU law.

As regards the academic society involved, it is time for a debate to be started, including cross-border discussion on the expected transposition measures. Professor Franz Hofmann, LL.M. (Cambridge) representing the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg has already opened the seminar with the main topic on “Die neue Geschäftsgeheimnis-Richtlinie”.

During this event, the Polish perspective has also been brought up for the discussion. In his presentation Dr Nestoruk has portrayed the current statutory provisions against trade secrets violation, as provided in the Unfair Competition Act of 1993 (text: ISAP) and indicated the specific issues to be considered while transposing the Directive into the Polish law.

It is not only the statutory definition, but also many other current provisions, that need be reassessed in the light of the recent developments such as globalisation, increased outsourcing, longer supply chains and the increased use of information and communication technology in daily business.

As it was stressed in the preamble to the Trade Secrets Directive, the effective protection of innovation-related efforts becomes more and more essential for the generation of innovative business models. Therefore, new provisions will be of great significance, especially in the sector of small and medium-sized enterprises. In Poland, this sector makes up over 90 per cent of all enterprises and accounts for 65 to 70 per cent of jobs on the Polish market.

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