October 14, 2015
Current legislation provides minimal protection under Article 39 (2) of the Agreement of Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property rights (TRIPS), with a patchwork of different regimes across Europe making it difficult for companies to effectively protect their trade secrets, Lexology reported.
The methods include an injunction against further use of the secrets and the awarding of damages, while the trade secret holder can prosecute against “infringing goods”, whose design, characteristics, function, or manufacturing process benefit from the use of a trade secret.
Court orders for seizing infringing goods and prohibiting them from being produced, sold or imported are also being made available, with illicit products able to be recalled and destroyed. A trade secret is defined under the new rules as undisclosed know-how and business information, which has to have an actual or potential commercial value.
Companies are also responsible for taking steps to keep the information secret before they can appeal to the new laws. Any unauthorised access, copying or appropriation, as well as conducting contrary to honest commercial practices, counts as an infringement, as does disclosure of the information by someone who procured it illegally, whether they knew this to be the case or not.
Exceptions to the rule include cases of independent discovery, reverse engineering, legitimate use of freedom of expression or information or whistleblowing and when an individual is obliged to disclose the information.
The first meeting to work towards a first-reading agreement is set for 25 November 2015. If agreed upon, the final text is likely to be in place soon, after which member states will have two years to implement it.
Categories : Around the Industry