Regulating trade secrets in the Republic of North Macedonia

In the Republic of North Macedonia, so far there has been no special law for the protection of business secrets or for the protection of information and data, although there are several legal regulations that contain provisions that regulate the issue of business secrets. Considering the process of approximation of the domestic regulation to that of the European Union, the legislator considered it essential to adopt a special law on the protection of business secrets, which would lead to strengthening the protection of the vital information of business entities that are exposed to risk. from discovery.

This draft law regulates the protection of undisclosed knowledge and experience and business information (trade secret) from illegal acquisition, use and disclosure. Holders of a trade secret have the legal right to request measures, procedures and legal means provided by this law in order to prevent illegal acquisition, use or disclosure of their trade secret. Apart from the holder of the trade secret, protection of the right from this law can also be requested by the holder of the license to the extent that he is authorized to do so on the basis of a contract or law.

It is important to note that with this Draft Law it is necessary to harmonize the more recent legal regulations that already contain certain elements of business secret protection. Here we will especially single out the Law on Industrial Property. Namely, within the framework of the European Union, the issue of business secrets is largely considered from the aspect of industrial property law.

Within the framework of the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), with the aim of unified implementation of the Trade Secrets Directive 2016/943, several manuals have been adopted that regulate this matter. What is interesting to point out is the manual on judicial protection against infringement of trade secrets. As seen from an analysis of more than 700 judgments, trade secret infringement litigation is mainly at the national level in the absence of cross-border disputes. Most often, parties in these disputes are former employees with their employer or companies that collaborated in creating certain product/providing  certain service. What is interesting to note is that the majority of these disputes relate to commercial rather than technical information that was classified. Common to all disputes is that the issue of their violation is often associated with committing an act of unfair competition and with a direct violation of certain issues that regulate intellectual property (e.g. license agreements, franchise agreements, etc.)

Bearing in mind the different range of disputes where business secrets may be violated, it remains to be seen how the courts in the Republic of North Macedonia will apply the new law (lex specialis), as well as the connection with the existing other material laws, especially the Law on industrial property, in enabling the right to judicial protection.

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