Trade Secrets (TS) & Intellectual Property (IP) are paramount, not only to innovation and trade but also generally to the competitiveness of the chemical industry. They are an essential component of its long-term business sustainability. Valuable and strategic assets, TS & IP are of ever-growing importance.
For over a century the European chemical industry has brought new products to the market place, in many areas transforming the lifestyles and well-being of consumers. TS&IP play a key role in supporting all chemical industry sectors in their attempts to bring new products to consumers. If TS&IP did not exist, the conversion of new ideas into useful products would be significantly inhibited.
An economic study indicates that roughly 35% of employment - thus 77 million jobs, and 39% of GDP, worth € 4.7 trillion - relies on IPR-intensive industries in the EU, including many sectors of the chemical industry.
Actions of the EU Institutions in this area are crucial to innovation, the fruits of which benefit European citizens’ daily lives and can help boost Europe’s ability to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Trade Secrets (TS)
Chemical companies rely greatly on TS, either as a complement to patents and other IP rights such as trademarks and design or on their own for protecting innovation know-how and confidential business information.
As mentioned in a Cefic paper, the potential loss of turnover in case of misappropriation of given TS of a company is, on average, 30%. This percentage could go up to 80-100% when TS are the foundation of the product differentiation or the manufacturing process of a company in a given market.
Cefic welcomes the adoption by the European Institutions of the Directive on the protection of TS from misappropriation and misuse by third parties.
For more information, download the Cefic "Trade Secret Foster EU Innovation" brochure.
See also below, the European Parliament TV interview of Dimitri Stoffels, Legal Affairs Manager at Nanocyl in Belgium about "Trade Secrets: protecting companies from disaster".
As a major user of the patent system, the European chemical industry believes that enhancing a strong, comprehensive and workable system of patent legislation in Europe and globally is necessary.
The adoption at the end of 2012 of the EU unitary patent by 25 Member States and the signature of the agreement on the unified patent court by almost all of them in early 2013 are achievements of major importance for chemical companies, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises. This gives the right signal to companies to innovate. Now it is time to move forward quickly for implementation.
Climate change, Trade Secrets (TS) & Intellectual Property (IP)
The chemical industry believes that TS & IP are indispensable in promoting technology- supporting actions against climate change. Measures to prevent climate change should avoid creating additional burdens or legal uncertainty for TS & IP owners, and should not undermine their essential role. Therefore, international negotiations should not result in an erosion of these rights.