Insights European Parliament passes Resolution on proposal for Trade Secrets Directive

The new EU rules, which were informally agreed by Parliament and the Council in December 2015, aim to help businesses win legal redress against theft or misuse of their trade secrets.

The Resolution passed by 503 votes to 131, with 18 abstentions, ensured that freedom of expression and information will be protected and that the rules will not restrict the work of journalists.

The Directive introduces an EU-wide definition of “trade secret”, meaning information which is secret, has commercial value because it is secret, and has been subject to reasonable steps to keep it secret.

It would oblige EU Member States to ensure that victims of misuse of trade secrets are able to defend their rights in court and to seek compensation.  The agreed text also lays down rules to protect confidential information during legal proceedings.

Throughout the negotiations with ministers, MEPs stressed the need to ensure that the legislation does not curb media freedom and pluralism or restrict the work of journalists, in particular with regard to their investigations and the protection of their sources.  To read the EU Parliament’s press release in full, click here.