Wednesday 13 March 2019

If you only know half a secret, you can’t tell the whole truth

Today, on March 13, 2019, Law 1/2019 of February 20, on Business Secrets, comes into force. In Spain, it is the first legislation that is dedicated entirely and specifically to regulate the secrets of companies.

This Law creates a legal security framework that preserves both the confidentiality and the innovation of the projects of a certain company. In addition, it provides a clear description of the concept of business secrecy and the various protocols that exist to identify and protect it.

As it is evidenced in the aforementioned law, a business secret is "any information or knowledge, including technological, scientific, industrial, commercial, organizational or financial, that meets the following conditions:

a) Be a secret, in the sense that, as a whole or in the precise configuration and assembly of its components, it is not generally known by people belonging to the circles in which the type of information or knowledge in question is normally used, nor easily accessible to them;
b) A business value, whether real or potential, precisely because it is secret, and
c) Have been subject to reasonable measures on the part of the holder to keep it secret. "

In this sense it is essential that companies invest an additional effort in information and especially in the training of their workers. Everyone must understand that they are in front of a business secret and the consequences that exist at the time of its disclosure. The truth is that consciously or unconsciously, most secrecy leakage occurs by employees.

With the entry into force of the law, it is possible that companies need to apply new complementary measures such as the implementation of confidentiality contracts, or the impediment that a single worker has access to all the information of a particular process or project, that allows him to reproduce it outside the company. It is important that the information is shared among several people, mainly in the biotechnological and pharmaceutical sectors since they are the ones that are more armored by this legislation.

Spain thus becomes a European benchmark by be one of the few countries to have a law that regulates business secrecy. The most important novelty is related to the behaviors that constitute a violation of said secret. In addition, it makes clear in which situations it is considered lawful to obtain, use and disclose business secrets.

Sindia Alves and A. Oliver
Anthropologist and Detective
of Oliver Detectives


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