Saturday, November 30, 2013

EU Takes Aim at Industrial Espionage

Brussels is taking aim at industrial espionage with proposals to tighten laws so businesses can better safeguard their “trade secrets” from prying rivals.

The reforms put forward by Michel Barnier, the EU single market commissioner, aim to bolster defences against unlawful acquisition of information that is commercially valuable and secret but not covered by a patent...

Trade secrets range can range from anything from technical processes for making bathplugs, to innovative marketing strategies, valuable customer lists, or recipes for market-beating cakes or pies.

Unlike a book or trademark or patented technology, the holder of a trade secret has no exclusive right to it. Rivals seeking to close a competitive gap can legally reverse engineer the information. The proposed reforms, unveiled on Thursday, only target methods for obtaining information that are illegal, such as espionage, bribery or theft.

Mr Barnier said: “Cybercrime and industrial espionage are unfortunately part of the reality that businesses in Europe face every day. We have to make sure our laws move with the times and that the strategic assets of our companies are adequately protected against theft and misuse.” (more)