The Trade Secrets Directive and the German Trade Secrets Act introduce a number of changes to the legal situation. Companies will have to adapt to these changes. If they do not, the legal protection previously enjoyed by know-how and other trade secrets may be lost.
The term “trade secrets” now covers all protected information of both a technical and commercial nature, i.e. technical data, source codes, market analyses, cost information, strategies as well as supplier and customer/client lists. Measures for protecting trade secrets are therefore valuable in two respects: they directly reduce the probability of trade secrets being disclosed while also being a prerequisite, from a legal perspective, of any claims against the theft and disclosure of trade secrets.
In order legally to protect valuable proprietary information, it is necessary to modify existing confidentiality measures in line with the new legal situation. In particular, existing trade secrets must be identified and confidentiality measures reviewed and modified. In addition, a legal review of existing non-disclosure agreements is recommended.
Further information on the topic of the protection of trade secrets can be found in our Bulletin articles (“Implementation of the EU Trade Secret Directive – companies need to anticipate new developments” and “Implementation of the EU Trade Secrets Directive – German Government Draft Published”).