Before the implementation of EU Directive 2016/943 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure, Belgian law did not provide for a general legal framework on the protection of trade secrets. The Belgian act transposing this directive should entail a stronger protection for undisclosed know-how and business information.
The Act on the Protection of Trade Secrets introduces a clear definition of a “trade secret”. Furthermore, it introduces new legal actions to counter breaches of trade secret holders’ rights. The new act should thus enable employers to better protect themselves against (ex-) employees who, for example, copy client lists or internal documents concerning company products and processes. The Belgian Act on the Protection of Trade Secrets will enter into force on 24 August 2018.