Sector insights

The clock is ticking | Deadline to implement the EU Trade Secrets Directive expires on 9 June 2018

Written on 8 June 2018


All businesses hold confidential information. For some, confidential know-how can be at least as important as registered IP such as patents. Yet the legal protections given to trade secrets across the EU have long been patchy and inconsistent.

The Trade Secrets Directive (EU Directive 2016/943) is intended to bring greater consistency across the EU. With all of the hype around GDPR, however, it is widely overlooked that the deadline for the implementation of the Trade Secret Directive into national laws ends 9 June.

The Member States of the European Union have had two years to adapt their national laws to the minimum requirements set by the Trade Secrets Directive. It appears that most of the Member States have failed to conclude the legislative process on time. National courts nevertheless have the obligation to interpret national law in accordance with the Trade Secrets Directive or give the provisions of the Trade Secrets Directive priority of application over conflicting national law.

In this guide, we review the current position on implementation in seven major EU jurisdictions, looking at the progress on implementation and where there are still variations between jurisdictions on key issues.

Practically speaking, companies that own valuable proprietary know-how and are interested to safeguard their respective interests and protect the value of the know-how, should ensure they comply with the requirements of the Trade Secrets Directive now, irrespective of the status of the legislative process in their home country.

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To discuss what this means for your business, please speak to one of the experts listed below.


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*This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.