European Union: Willingness to harmonise the concept of trade secrets

Symbole copyrightThe concept of trade secrets is far from being uniform in different EU countries. Some countries have never penalised trade secrets infringement. Consequently, offences increase constantly and nearly one in five companies have suffered from at least one infringement to secrets in the last ten years. Therefore, in the framework of UE 2020 strategy under the “Innovation Union”, the European Commission has proposed a Directive to harmonise the definition and the sanctions of trade secret misappropriation.


The protection of trade secrets is particularly significant since it impacts on small and medium sized enterprises. Indeed, larger companies do not have difficulties in defending their innovations because they possess tools like industrial property rights (patents, trademarks…). However, their costs are often excessive for SME who attempt to protect their secrets more traditionally.

The European Directive aims at offering a more adequate protection and effective remedies for European enterprises. The displayed objective is to facilitate common and collaborative projects within the Union in order to allow the new knowledge. This directive will reinforce the trust of enterprises, inventors and innovation researchers.

The challenge will be found within the means to harmonise with the past; the measures must adhere to a modern approach and propose innovative solutions. The response to dishonest practices concerning trade secrets within the Union must be strict and dissuasive.


The protection of trade secrets seems to be a relevant leverage of growth limiting the danger for small enterprises which will no more fear investing in innovative researches.


A Directive to be closely monitored…