Dutch Law on the protection of trade secrets

Entrepreneurs that employ employees, often share confidential information with these employees. This may concern technical information, such as a recipe or algorithm, or non-technical information, such as customer bases, marketing strategies or business plans. However, what will happen to this information when your employee starts working at the company of the competitor? Can you protect this information? In many cases, a non-disclosure agreement is concluded with the employee. In principle, this agreement ensures that your confidential information will not become public. But what happens if third parties get their hands on your trade secrets anyway? Are there possibilities to prevent unauthorized distribution or use of this information?

Since October 23, 2018, it has become easier to take measures when trade secrets are (or are at risk of) being violated. This is because on this date, the Dutch Law on the protection of trade secrets entered into force. Before the installment of this law, the Dutch law did not include the protection of trade secrets and the means to act against violation of these secrets. According to the Dutch Law on the protection of trade secrets, entrepreneurs can act not only against the party who is obligated to maintain secrecy on the basis of a non-disclosure agreement, but also against third parties that have obtained confidential information and want to make use of this information. The judge can prohibit the use or disclosure of confidential information under penalty of a fine. Also, measures can be taken to ensure that the products manufactured by using the trade secrets cannot be sold. The Dutch Law on the protection of trade secrets therefore offers entrepreneurs an extra guarantee to ensure that their confidential information is actually kept confidential.

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