By way of follow up to our January blog post, we can now report that, at the end of last week, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Trade Secrets Directive. This was despite some concern that the Directive could threaten press freedom, transparency and the ability to whistleblow.

In essence, the Directive seeks to harmonise trade secrets law across the EU. The Directive defines what constitutes a protectable trade secret, provides for a common set of remedies where a trade secret has been misappropriated and sets out rules around the protection of confidential information during legal proceedings. The Directive sets minimum requirements for legal redress where a trade secret has been misused so a Member State may, when implementing the Directive into national law, provide more far-reaching protection for trade secrets if it wishes, provided certain safeguards in the Directive are respected.

Following formal adoption of the Directive (which is expected during May) and publication in the EU Official Journal, the Directive will come into force. EU Member States will have two years to implement it into national law. So, it is looking like EU Member States will have new laws in force on the protection of trade secrets based on the Directive by mid-2018.

We will post again in a few weeks’ time to confirm when the Directive has been formally adopted.