With the Trade Secrets Directive now in play, this article published in Pharmafocus (page 24) considers the effect of the Directive and how pharma companies can optimise their position.
Although patents may be the optimum form of IP protection for medicines, secrecy is of crucial importance in reaching places patents can’t reach, such as early research, manufacturing know-how and test data, and is of particular importance in biotech. With the increasing sophistication of cyber thieves and interest from competing economics such as China, the danger of trade secret theft is increasing. However, the risks are not just from outsiders. Life Sciences companies are equally, if not more, at risk from employees, licensees and other insiders with easy access to information. It is in response to such espionage and leakage that major reforms to trade secret laws were introduced both in the US and Europe in the last few months. In the US, the Defend Trade Secrets Act was passed in May 2016. Europe followed in June with Trade Secrets Directive (Implementation by June 2018).