This paper is provided by way of an update to a paper prepared for the AIPLA Trade Secret Law Summit held in Boston in November 2015. That paper addressed the then proposed Directive on "the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information", more commonly known as the EU Trade Secrets Directive.
Since then much in the world has changed. Initially 2016 looked to be shaping up to be the year for the protection of trade secrets. In February 2016 12 Pacific Rim countries 1 signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the provisions of which require member nations to "ensure that natural and legal persons have the legal means to prevent trade secrets lawfully in their countries from being disclosed to, acquired by, or used by others without their consent in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices.". In spring 2016 we saw President Obama sign the Defend the Trade Secrets Act into US Federal law and, shortly afterwards, the Council of the European Union unanimously adopted the EU Trade Secrets Directive.
Then 2016 really happened.
On 23 June 2016, following a referendum on the question of its continued membership of the European Union, the UK voted to leave the international economic and political union it had been part of for over 40 years. By the end of 2016 the USA had its own election news story, with the election of President Trump. In the weeks following his election, President Trump announced his intention to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal as soon as he takes office.
And so we have arrived in 2017.