Trade Secrets versus Whistleblowing
On 27 June 2019, at the firm’s premises in Innsbruck, the commercial law firm Binder Grösswang held a seminar in their “early bird” series focussing on the highly topical subject “Trade Secrets versus Whistleblowing”, during which they promoted an exchange of ideas with and between the legal departments of companies in western Austria.
Johannes Barbist, Regina Kröll and Ivo Rungg informed the invited guests on current developments relating to the much-debated subject of the “protection of trade secrets”. This included a discussion of the new EU Directive on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law (commonly referred to as whistleblowers). Companies with 50 employees or more, or with an annual turnover of over EUR 10 million, will in future be obligated to set up internal channels for reporting such breaches.
Among the questions discussed with a highly interested audience were the following:
- Part I: The role of legal departments: classical jurisprudence, legal managers or compliance officers
- Part II: Amendment to the Federal Act Against Unfair Competition (UWG-Novelle zum Schutz von Geschäftsgeheimnissen)
- What are business secrets?
- What measures do companies need to take?
- Part III: The new “EU Whistleblower Protection Directive”
- Scope of application, minimum requirements for internal reporting channels, relationship to external reporting channels (authorities, the public)
- Strategic considerations from a company perspective