On 14 April 2016, the European Parliament adopted the new Directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (Trade Secrets Directive).
According to the press release, the Directive aims to harmonize the definition of “trade secret” in the EU and to offer appropriate means of action and remedies against unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure of confidential commercial information, such as provisional and precautionary measures, injunction and correctives measures or allocation of damages, while ensuring freedom of expression and information as well as protection for whistleblowers.
The Directive also sets up rules to ensure protection of trade secrets, both during and after legal proceedings, including the possibility for judicial authorities to take specific measures (for example restricting access to documents containing trade secrets or to hearings when trade secrets may be disclosed).
The EU Member states will have 24 months to implement this Directive. In the meantime, the proposal has been sent to the Council for approval before its final adoption by the European Parliament.