Approach to implementation 

Trade secrets have been protected in Poland since the 1920s, with violating a trade secret traditionally considered an act of unfair competition (a type of a civil wrong). This approach will not change with the implementation of the Directive. The Polish government intends to amend the Act on Combatting Unfair Competition to address the issues covered in the Directive while leaving the basic framework of protection intact.

Stage of legislative process 

The bill amending the Act on Combatting Unfair Competition was passed by the Sejm (lower house of the Parliament) on 5 July 2018 and signed into law by the President on 8 August 2018.

Timescale for implementation 

The bill implementing the Directive came into force on 4 September 2018.

Noteworthy points arising from the legislative changes 
  • The bill also includes some amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure, introducing the possibility for an alleged infringer to apply for the court to order the lodging of a guarantee in the form of a deposit as means of compensation for the trade secret holder instead of applying the measures indicated in a preliminary injunction (such as an order for the prohibition and/or seizure of certain goods aimed at the prevention of further breaches). The court will decide on such motion after a hearing and it will be able to order the infringer to deposit a specific sum to a deposit account held by the Ministry of Finance. This mechanism will be new to the Polish civil procedure.

  • In addition to civil law liability, breaching a trade secret is also a criminal offence punishable by up to two years of imprisonment. The bill will expand the scope of this offence to also cover the use or disclosure of a trade secret in cases where the infringer learnt such trade secret when participating in a hearing, from the files of a case or in the course of other actions in connection with legal proceedings related to violation of a trade secret. This will primarily apply to witnesses, court experts, attorneys and any other participants to the proceedings.