New German Trade Secrets Act Enacted

With the release of Federal Law Gazette dated 25 April 2019, the new Trade Secrets Protection Act (Gesetz zum Schutz von Geschäftsgeheimnissen – GeschGehG) came into force in Germany. The Act implements the EU Trade Secrets Directive (EU 2016/943) with a delay of nearly one year after the expiry of the time-limit for transposition the Directive into national law. The reasons for this delay were, inter alia, significant political controversy between the German political parties upon the scope of protection with regard to whistleblowers, employees and journalists.The necessity for the transposition of this European law into domestic law was a good opportunity for the German legislator to comprehensively reorganise the German system of trade secret protection. Previously, the protection of trade and business secrets had been provided for in several areas of law: tort, criminal and unfair competition law, without a comprehensive and coherent approach. Now, following implementation of the Directive, there is only one code to protect trade secrets, containing civil, as well as criminal law provisions. Read more