In the task force "Protection of Trade Secrets", we pool our expertise and experience from various areas. Cooperation in an interdisciplinary team is important, as there are interfaces in particular with data protection law, IT law, employment law, patent law, criminal law and contract law.
Significance of trade secrets
Practically all companies regularly come into contact with their own trade secrets and those of others. These can represent a high economic value for the company. Trade secrets concern technical know-how, business strategies and data collections, as well as commercial secrets such as customer and supplier lists.
Since 2016, the legal protection of trade secrets has been regulated throughout the Union by the European Directive (EU) 2016/943. This establishes uniform rules and facilitates the cross-border exchange of sensitive information. The German legislator implemented the directive through the German Trade Secrets Act (GeschGehG), which came into force on April 26, 2019.
Appropriate protective measures
Trade secrets are protected if the owner of the secret has taken appropriate measures to maintain secrecy. He must be able to present and prove these precautions in possible legal proceedings. In addition to organizational measures as well as legal and actual access restrictions, training employees in the handling of secret information can also be useful.
Protective measures are also necessary to prevent employees from bringing along or using trade secrets of third parties without authorization. Once a third party's secret has been used in the company without authorization, it can be very difficult and costly to restore a lawful state of affairs.
If there are disputes in this area, procedural measures are useful to ensure confidentiality in the process as well.
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