The proposal for a directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) seeks to align across the EU the existing national laws combatting misappropriation of trade secrets. 

The EC directive would harmonize the definition of trade secrets, as well as the measures, procedures, and remedies that should be available to the trade secret owners when they are confronted with the unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure of his trade secrets. Under the EC directive, Member States should make available sufficient procedures so that if such misappropriation takes place, the trade secret owner can request the national judge to, e.g.:

  1. grant provisional and precautionary measures to put an end to the unlawful use and subsequent disclosure of his trade secrets
  2. grant an injunction to remove from the market goods that have been manufactured using the misappropriated trade secrets
  3. award a compensation for the damage that had been caused by the unlawful use/disclosure of his trade secrets.

After the discussions on different topics including the respect for freedom of expression and information about the protection of whistle-blowers, the draft proposal was approved by the legal affairs committee on 16 June, and an informal discussion with the Council has begun so that a first-reading agreement could be reached. A first report, aimed to be presented at the plenary first-reading sitting, has already been issued on 22 June and an indicative sitting date has been scheduled for 24 November 2015.