Earlier today, the European Parliament voted by a large majority of MEPs (503 to 131) for the enactment of the long-awaited EU Directive on trade secrets. The text of the Directive has already been informally agreed to by the Member States’ Council of Ministers, so its passage into EU law is now something of a formality.

In a press release issued shortly after the vote, MEP Constance le Grip (EPP, FR), who was tasked with navigating the bill through the legislative process said:

“With one company out of every five a victim of theft of trade secrets every year, harmonisation should allow the creation of a safe and trustworthy environment for European companies, which will see their intangible assets and know-how secured”, adding “I’ve also been fighting to ensure that the safeguards laid down in this text to protect the work of journalists and whistle-blowers are as real and as unambiguous as can be.”

The draft Directive was debated yesterday in the EP, with some MEPs again venting concerns as to whether there is sufficient protection in the draft for whistleblowers. But with today’s vote those concerns will now have to be aired further in 28 national legislative arenas as the focus shifts to the enactment or amendment of existing trade secret laws by European Member States.

The new law has been hailed by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn as providing EU companies with better tools to protect their trade secrets, and it comes at a time when the United States is also gearing up to enact nationwide federal trade secrets law.

Lime Green IP News will be back with more on trade secrets soon. Meantime, you can read the EP press release today here and a more detailed review here and read other posts covering trade secrets around the world here.