The study on Trade Secrets and Confidential Business Information incorporates a survey covering 537 companies, including 323 small and medium size companies (less than 250 employees) undertaken at the end of 2012. It also provides a detailed review of the legal frameworks governing trade secrets in the then 27 Member States, the United States of America, Japan and Switzerland.

This Study investigates the legal and economic structure of trade secrets protection in the European Union. Extensive surveys of the economic literature and of the legal framework in Member States are matched by a comparative analysis with advanced economies representing different economic, legal and political models, namely Switzerland, the United States of America and Japan. Our research is complemented by a statistical on-the-field survey on the perceived needs of European businesses, stratified across industry sectors and business dimensions. Based on the results of this combined analysis, the Study describes the current fragmented scenario, its commonly perceived weaknesses and the widespread appetite for a harmonized approach. The final recommendations advocate for legislative initiative on trade secrets protection at the EU level and highlight the areas where intervention would be most beneficial in terms of balanced economic growth and competitiveness for the Internal Market.

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