International attention to misappropriation of trade secrets has never been at a higher level. In early May 2014, a U.S. federal grand jury indicted several Chinese military officials for allegedly misappropriating trade secrets from U.S.-based companies; in late May 2014, the European Council announced that it is proceeding with a Directive to strengthen trade secret protection laws throughout the EU; and the U.S. Congress is now seriously considering the Defend Trade Secrets Act which would create an unprecedented federal civil right of action for trade secret misappropriation. When the two legislative bodies which govern the lion’s share of the world’s economy are paying close attention to trade secrets, it is timely for businesses to compare existing laws protecting trade secrets in the EU with those in the U.S., the proposals for change in both, and to implement or strengthen their corporate trade secret protection programs.
The Current State of the Law in the EU -
European companies are increasingly exposed to misappropriation of trade secrets. One in five European companies has been the victim of trade secret misappropriation, or attempts at misappropriation, at least once in the past 10 years, and for two in five European companies, the risk of trade secret misappropriation has increased during the same period.
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