Whistleblowing und die neue EU-Richtlinie für Geschäftsgeheimnisse

von Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren, veröffentlicht am 03.10.2015

The International League of Competition LAW (LIDC), one of the eldest international law associations, has today (3 October) approved a resolution on the the trialogue discussions regarding the EU directive on the protection of trade secrets. The 140 delegates from more than 20 countries approved unanimously the text after two days of discussions at their conference in Stockholm.

Here are the main LIDC recommendations :

1. The international harmonisation of legislation on the protection of confidential  know-how  and business information (trade secrets) against their wrongful  acquisition, use and disclosure should be pursued within due time.

2. A good starting point is the European Parliament’s proposal for an EU directive of June 2015 on the protection of trade secrets. However, the existing text still has some lacunas, especially where it supports trade secret proprietors´ claims against public authorities, journalists and whistleblowers in respect of the acquisition and revelation of business information.

3. In general, the protection of trade secrets should not prejudice the public’s access to information regarding industry malpractice.

4. When protecting  trade secrets it is important to have regard to fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech, and other legitimate public interests, including fair competition.

5. It is necessary to work towards the adoption of a uniform statutory definition of trade secrets to increase legal and business certainty.

6. It is necessary to work towards the allowance of ex parte search orders in national legislation in cases of trade secret misuse.

7. It is necessary to work towards establishing a common standard for defining the protection against proprietors´ abuse of trade secrets  and the remedies in case of such abuse.

8. It is necessary to work towards establishing procedural principles under which trade secret information is kept under seal and at the same time is accessible to the defendant to conduct a full defence.

9. It is necessary to work towards the establishment of a principle of a lower burden of proof when it comes to proving damage as a result of the misuse of trade secrets.

For further information especially regarding the various reports on national trade secret regulations see

http://www.ligue.org/index.php?page=reports-resolutions

For the conference programme see

http://www.ligue.org/uploads/documents/cycle%202015/Cycle%202015/program...

For the last report of the EP from June 2015 see

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+...

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