• The European Parliament and EU Council have agreed the terms of a Trade Secrets Directive that aims to harmonise the definition and protection of trade secrets and undisclosed know-how across Europe. Once approved and adopted, the Directive could take effect early this year, with Member States then having a two year window in which to implement its provisions.

    Companies operating across the EU will welcome a more unified approach which should facilitate cross-border research and development, and provide the mechanisms for an effective response and deterrent against the unlawful disclosure of trade secrets.The Directive is discussed in detail here.  

  • In December 2015, the European Commission, Parliament and Council agreed on a common text version of a new General Data Protection Regulation, to take effect in early 2018. The EU General Data Protection Regulation, which is directly applicable in all EU member states supersedes and replaces the previous European data protection directive and any national data protection regulations based on it. A detailed briefing on the General Data Protection Regulation is available here.

    The final text will now need to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council and published in the Official Journal. There will then be a two year implementation period before the Regulation comes into effect, meaning that employers should expect the new rules to apply from sometime in 2018. Employers will need to consider the implications for their processing of employee data and prepare for compliance in 2018.  

  • The EU Commission and the US have agreed on a new framework to facilitate the transfer of EU personal data to the US, the EU-US Privacy Shield, following the ECJ ruling that the old Safe Harbour framework was invalid (reported in our November 2015 global EPI e-bulletin). The Article 29 Working Party (ie, the EU data protection regulators) have called on the Commission to send it full details of the agreement by the end of February so it can review whether it provides an adequate level of protection. The hope is for the arrangement to be adopted and in effect within three months.