News & Views

It Seems that Finland Will Finally Have a Trade Secrets Act of Its Own

20 October 2017

Author: Ilona Tulokas

As suggested in a recent blog post, a first-ever Finnish Trade Secrets Act has now been proposed. On 18 October, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland received a report from the working party on the national implementation of the Trade Secrets Directive ((EU) 2016/943, the “Directive”). The working party proposes that a separate Trade Secrets Act be enacted in Finland in order to incorporate the provisions of the Directive and to have the existing provisions on the protection of trade secrets transferred from under the Unfair Business Practices Act.

The proposed Finnish Trade Secrets Act includes a definition of a trade secret and it regulates the unlawful acquisition, use, and disclosure of trade secrets. It also sets forth the permissible ways to obtain trade secrets and provides the conditions for the reporting of possible misuse and illegal activities and for the use of the freedom of expression regardless of the existence of a trade secret. According to the proposal, the court may, at the request of a trade secret holder, impose prohibitions and remedial measures for an infringement of a trade secret and it may also order the infringer to pay compensations or damages to the holder of the trade secret. Such compensations are proposed to be based on the amount of the damage suffered, or like in the case of IP compensations, on an imaginary corresponding to an amount that the original holder of the trade secrets might have required from the infringer for the disclosure of the trade secrets. The proposed act also includes a so-called whistleblowing rule introduced by the Directive, according to which the disclosure of a trade secret is not unlawful if it is intended to disclose a wrongdoing or an illegal activity for the purpose of protecting the public interest.

The report of the working group is written in the form of a government proposal and it can be commented upon until 29 November 2017. The actual government proposal is expected to be released in early 2018. The proposed act and other legislative amendments are expected to enter into force at the latest on 9 June 2018, which is the deadline for the implementation of the Directive.