Approach to implementation 

In Finland the protection of trade secrets has been very criminal law focused during recent decades. In the future criminal law will continue to have a big role in trade secrets protection. Amongst other things, this means that it is much easier to get the needed proof of infringement. As part of the implementation of the Trade Secrets Directive (TSD), Finland has issued a new Trade Secret Law, which includes the regulations in the TSD as well as some additional regulations relating to trade secrets. After the introduction of the new law the civil protection and remedies will also be an important part of the trade secret holder's tool kit.

Stage of legislative process 

The new Trade Secret Law implementing the TSD came into force on 15 August 2018.

 
Timescale for implementation 

The new Trade Secret Law implementing the TSD came into force on 15 August 2018.

Noteworthy points arising from the legislative changes 
  • In Finland a new Trade Secret Law has been passed which replaces the provisions in the Unfair Trade Act. The Trade Secret Law implemented the TSD without major modifications. However, the Law also contains provisions that establish a secrecy obligation with regards to trade secrets in different situations (for example, for company directors, employees and parties to a confidential business relationship).

  • The Finnish Trade Secret Law also contains protection for so-called ‘technical instruction’. This will maintain the current protection in Finland for documents which are less confidential but that have been given to employees or business partners in confidence.

  • If trade secrets have been unlawfully used, the infringer has to pay compensation, even if it is not possible to show any concrete damage. The amount of compensation payable is the hypothetical license fee of said trade secrets. In this regard, therefore, trade secrets are very close to other intellectual property rights.

  • Finnish legislation already enables good protection of trade secrets from third parties in the course of legal proceedings. However, the new Law also includes provisions which entitle the court to limit the number of persons from the parties to proceedings who have a right to receive knowledge of the trade secrets.

  • Trade secret cases may be handled in district courts or alternatively, in certain circumstances, in the market court, which is also called the IPR court.

  • Together with the criminal measures, the Finnish legislation will give good protection to trade secrets.

  • As a result of the implementation of the TSD, over 100 Finnish laws which included references to a secrecy obligation relating to trade secrets have been amended. In most cases it means only that the protected information will in future be called a trade secret (the terminology has historically not been consistent across different laws).