Intellectual property

TOP SECRET! How have Member States implemented the new EU Trade Secrets Directive?

Published on 11th Mar 2019

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) was intended to bring greater consistency across the EU. The Member States of the European Union had two years to adapt their national laws to the minimum requirements set by the Trade Secrets Directive, with the deadline for implementation being 9 June 2018.

Most Member States failed to conclude the legislative process on time, but nine months on there has been considerable progress and most Member States now have either legislation in place, or at least a draft Bill currently in progress.

In this guide, we review the current position on implementation in eight 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.


* 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.

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