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European Intellectual Property Law

European Intellectual Property Law (2nd edn)

Justine Pila and Paul Torremans
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date: 16 June 2024

p. 51323. Trade Secretslocked

p. 51323. Trade Secretslocked

  • Justine PilaJustine PilaFellow and Senior Law Tutor of St Catherine’s College, Oxford; Research Fellow of the Institute of European and Comparative Law, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford
  •  and Paul L.C. TorremansPaul L.C. TorremansProfessor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Nottingham


This chapter deals with the legal protection of trade secrets. Traditionally, trade secret protection was left to the national laws of Member States. These national regimes are rooted firmly in existing legal rules in the areas of unfair competition, tort, or breach of confidence. And there is also the “Directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use, and disclosure”. The Directive seeks to impose on Member States a minimal form of harmonization and uniformity. It does not impose a (Community) right in relation to a trade secret, but it works with a common basic definition of a trade secret, the principle that there needs to be redress for the unlawful acquisition, use, or disclosure of a trade secret, and a catalogue of measures and remedies.

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