Identifying and defining trade secrets

One of the key points of the EU Trade Secrets Directive is the definition of trade secrets (Art. 2 no. 1). It must be information which is secret, in the sense that it is neither as a whole nor in its precise configuration generally known among or readily accessible to persons who normally deal with the kind of information in question. In addition, the information must have commercial value and have been subject to reasonable steps to keep it secret. In order to ensure not only the legal but also practical protection of trade secrets, it is important firstly to identify and log which information and know-how can be regarded as trade secrets as defined in law, in order that measures can be taken to keep the information and knowhow secret. In addition to identifying and logging existing secret information individually, internal company definitions can help to identify trade secrets worthy of protection before they are even created.