Keeping secrets, secret

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Keeping secrets, secret


You've worked really hard to develop ideas or processes that are unique to your business - your Trade Secrets. Soon you'll have more ways to protect them if you follow some simple rules.


What’s new?

A new Directive has been published to standardise the law protecting Trade Secrets across the EU. There is a deadline for Parliament to turn this into English law by next year– with or without Brexit!
It will provide vital protection for Trade Secrets that you or your employees have developed so that your investment in the know-how and processes which make your business unique can’t be stolen or used by others.


What does this mean?

Once the law comes into play, if you have taken “reasonable steps” to protect your commercially valuable trade secrets then you will have additional tools to protect them.

What should you do?

Start putting procedures in place now so it’s clear when your people are handling your Trade Secrets, including:  
1. using titles such as “Confidential” or “Secret” clearly on such information
2. restricting access to such information to a “need-to-know” basis
3. requiring non-disclosure agreements to be signed by your staff before providing the information – also a good time to check with whether your current non-disclosure agreements suit your needs.

Examples of trade secrets

  • supplier lists
  • customer profiles
  • sales methods
  • distribution channels
  • advertising strategies
  • manufacturing processes

But what about Brexit?


On the current timetable, this law will have been in force and effect for over a year before the UK leaves the EU. After Brexit, Parliament might decide that our current laws are sufficient and there is no need to keep this Trade Secrets legislation but they may well take the view that it sets a helpful minimum standard and it should be retained.

James Groak, Solicitor, CommercialFor further guidance, please contact James Groak, Solicitor, Commercial.

View James's profile email James now 

Published: 26 Apr 2017

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