The European Commission and the European Innovation Council and SME Executive Agency (EISMEA) contracted a consortium led by the IMC University of Applied Sciences, Krems, to perform a study on the legal protection of trade secrets in the context of the data economy.
Data is seen as the "oil" of the 21st century. In modern open innovation processes, data is also shared much more frequently among firms than in the past (for purposes like big data analytics, predictive maintenenance, etc.). Among this data is also data that is commercially valuable and not not known to the general public. If firms take appropriate measure to protect such sensitive data, the legal tool of "trade secrets" provides protection against, e.g., industrial espionage and other forms of misappropriation.
Using a comprehensive interview programme and a survey with European firms in four sectors (automotive, financial services, health/life sciences, energy/utilities), the study seeks to understand whether trade secrets can be, as a tool, effectively and efficiently used for protecting shared data. The results feed directly into the law- and policy making processes at European level.