April 22, 2016 9:42 am
Last week, MEPs voted for a new set of rules to protect businesses from misuse of trade secrets, by giving them the opportunity to defend their rights in court and seek compensation.
The new rules, which entered into force on the 14th April, introduce an EU-wide definition of trade secrets and aim to safeguard firms against the theft of confidential information.
One of the ways this could happen is through industrial espionage. Being an issue related to one of last week’s most discussed EU topics, we have chosen this expression as this week’s IATE term.
Industrial espionage can take many different forms. A general definition by the Oxford English Dictionary is “spying directed towards discovering the secrets of a rival industrial company, manufacturer, etc.”.
It is a peculiar kind of espionage, as it is conducted for commercial purposes, but it can create huge issues to the companies affected by it. Sadly, it is also extremely common: in 2013, 25% of European companies reported at least one case of misappropriation of trade secrets, according to the European Commission.
Therefore, the EP’s move was a necessary step towards a safer and more protected business environment. Although some argued that the new rules might restrict the work of journalists, MEPs ensured that freedom of expression and information will not be endangered, while it is important that industrial espionage is kept under control and severely sanctioned.
- European Parliament. 2015. European Parliament News. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20160407IPR21787/Trade-secrets-protecting-businesses-safeguarding-the-right-to-information. [Accessed 15 January 16].
- European Parliament. 2014. www.europarl.europa.eu. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/join/2014/493055/IPOL-JURI_NT%282014%29493055_EN.pdf. [Accessed 22 April 16].
Written by Silvia Morani
Communication Trainee at TermCoord
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