On 21 March 2019, the 44th Bulgarian National Assembly passed a Law on the Protection of Trade Secrets introducing the requirements of the European Parliament and Council Directive (EU) 2016/943 of 8 June 2016 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and commercial information (trade secrets) against their illegal acquisition, use and disclosure. Prior to its adoption, this matter was governed by the Protection of CompetitionActand the Commerce Act, which deals with trade secrets in the context of commercial transactions. These provisions will remain in force but will be supplemented and significantly extended by the new law.
Principal matters settled in the Law on the Protection of Trade Secrets:
- The law defines the terms trade secret, trade secret holder, offenderand goods–objectof an infringement.
- Differentiation criteria for legal and illegalacquisition, use and disclosure of trade secrets are developed.
- The legal proceedings for revealingillegal acquisition, use and disclosure are regulated in detail by providing types of claims which the trade secret holder will be able to bring in orderto protect their rights overtheinformation that constitutes trade secret within the meaning of the law.
- Thereare included provisionswith the types of precautionary measures the court mayimpose at the request of the holder.
- Rules are in place to ensure the confidentiality of legal proceedings in order to protect the trade secret-subject of the case from disclosure by the persons who have access to it, which will also make judicial protection more attractive.
- The law also contains provisions on how compensation for damages resulting from the unauthorized acquisition, use or disclosure of business secretswill be determined.
The Council of Ministers, as an importer of the law, points out in its project motives that the proposed legal mechanisms will minimize the risks of misappropriation of know-how and other valuable trade secrets that business and research organizations face. This will ensure that the competitiveness of the Bulgarian business that is based on such information is well protected. The aim is to improve the environment for the development and use of innovation and knowledge transfer across the internal market of the European Union. Importers also expect the law to lead to innovationincrease and profits for businesses and, over time, to have a positive impact on the competitiveness and economicgrowth.