After several months of delay and heated political discussion among all German parties on the scope of protection of the draft act (for further details on the legislation process, see our article from November 2018 here, on Thursday, 21 March 2019, the German parliament adopted the Federal Government’s draft Trade Secrets Act. This act implements Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information into national German law with the aim of protecting trade secrets from unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure.
The new Trade Secrets Act (Gesetz zum Schutz von Geschäftsgeheimnissen) brings along many legal changes, including, for the first time in Germany, a legal definition of the term “trade secret”, increased legal requirements for confidentiality measures, the general permissibility of reverse engineering and new rules on the protection of trade secrets in civil proceedings. The new act offers new opportunities for enforcing trade secrets, but also places increased demands on trade secrets owners to ensure adequate confidentiality measures both within their internal organization and vis-à-vis third parties.
Further details on the implementation process and the legal changes arising from the new German Trade Secrets Act can be found here.