Approach to implementation 

The implementation has been done by means of a special statutory law, the Law on the Protection of Trade Secrets (Wet bescherming bedrijfsgeheimen), which entered into force on 23 October 2018. It also contains some changes to the Civil Code (on the statute of limitations) and to the Code of Civil Procedure (for procedural aspects).

Stage of legislative process 

The legislative process has been completed.

Noteworthy points arising from the legislative changes 

The law closely follows the Directive. The subjective term of the statute of limitations is five years from the date that the holder became aware of the infringement. The objective term is 20 years after the fact.

There are three additions to the protection awarded by the Directive:

  • The successful party may be awarded remuneration of its reasonable and proportionate legal costs and other expenses unless equity would not allow this. In contrast to article 14 Enforcement Directive, this is at the discretion of the Court.
  • The Court may order in any case where trade secrets are at stake (not only in cases of enforcement of trade secrets) that the Court file and the hearings will only be accessible to the lawyers and thus not to a party.
  • The Dutch Supreme Court had already held in its judgment of 13-9-2013, ECLI:NL:HR:2013:BZ9958, NJ 2014, 455, Molenbeek v Begeer, that a saisie is also available for the enforcement of rights other than intellectual property rights. The government explanatory note to the new law states that this is a sufficient legal basis for saisies for the enforcement of trade secrets.