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In April 2019, the new Trade Secret Protection Act entered into force.

 

On 5th of April 2019, the Bulgarian State Gazette promulgated the new law on the protection against unauthorized acquisition, use and disclosure of trade secrets – the Trade Secret Protection Act (Закон за защита на търговската тайна).

The new local law transposes Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets).

The new EU legislation sends a loud and clear message: Trade secret is as important as patents and copyright.

 

The quoted Directive on know-how and business information intents to unify the level of protection of trade secrets in each and every Member State, thereby to enhance the conditions of competition in the unified market.

The term “trade secret” refers to any production and technological know-how, information of customers and suppliers, business plans, market researches and strategies and any other commercial information that is valuable for a specific business and is protected from public distribution.

According to the Directive, trade secrets are just as valuable to businesses as patents, design right and copyright. The protection of trade secrets allows their creators to profit from their work or innovations, and that is why they are particularly important for their competitiveness.

For the reasons above, the Directive obliges the Member States, including Bulgaria, to strengthen the protection of trade secrets and to establish reliable local protection mechanisms.

What happens in case of trade secret theft?

 

The new law uses the term “unlawful acquisition“. Example for such acquisition would be the situation when protected information is obtained without the consent of its owner, including by accessing or copying of documents, materials, electronic files without the necessary authorization.

In any of the cases above, the new the new Trade Secret Protection Act allows us to bring a claim before the court and require:

  • a compensation;
  • measures, prohibiting and suspending the use of the information or documentation, which had been unlawfully acquired.

What if the infringing party had accessed the trade secret with our consent?

 

We have the right to seek legal protection also in cases when we had voluntarily and intentionally granted to someone access to the trade secrets, if:

  • the recipient of the information has used it in breach of a confidentiality agreement (or other obligation not to disclose trade secrets); or
  • the recipient has failed to observe his/her obligation to restrict the use of the protected information.

Date of publication: 08 April 2019

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This publication is written in the context of EU legislation, effective by the date, indicated above in the text. Please note that future amendments in the relevant legislative acts, court decisions or opinions of official authorities or other sources of legal obligations, which became effective after the quoted date, may affect the accuracy of the information above. This is one-time publication and Prosperamo is not responsible to keep it up-to-date. For more information – please read the following disclaimer.

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