The business secret means secret information on various subjects which the company controls and which produces an economic competitive advantage to the company. The business secrets are valuable capital for companies and they allow the company’s competitiveness and standing out on the market.
The competitive advantage of the company may consist of numerous different factors, so the suitable business secret can be of any form as long as it is economically valuable within the branch of the company. The disclosure of the business secret would give the competitors an economic interest and thus would bring economic defeats to the company.
The concealment will of the holder of the information, the concealment interests of the holder of the information and the real concealment of the information have been set as the characteristics of the business secret. The company can protect its business secrets with agreements, with technical and physical protective measures (for example the usernames and passwords of computers and access control) and by avoiding the unnecessary sharing of the information.
The business secrets are often the combination or collection of information that separately is not necessarily a business secret. The business secret cannot be individual well-known information or individual information that is easy to find out, but it is possible that the business secret is the combination of itself well-known information.
Employment Contracts Act, Unfair Business Practises Act and The Criminal Code of Finland protect business secrets. Employment Contracts Act prohibits employee from utilizes the employer’s business secrets during the term of employment. If the employee has obtained such information unlawfully, the prohibition continues after the termination of the employment relationship. Pursuant to The Criminal Code of Finland 30:5, a person who unlawfully discloses the business secret or unlawfully utilizes such a business secret can be sentenced for the violation of a business secret.
Pursuant to the Criminal Code of Finland 30:5 the drawing up of the concealment agreement is no more an essential condition in the situations where employer wants to protect the business secrets after the termination of the employment of the employee. The Criminal Code of Finland 30:5 improved the level of the protection of business secrets in Finland. The offences of the business secrets are usually dealt with in the courts as criminal cases. However the concealment agreement often clarifies the situation.
Law office Aasa-Law Oy helps to identify the business secret. We help in the matters which are related to the protecting of business secrets, to the drawing up of the agreement or to the possible abuse of the business secret. We have special expertise also in the situation if the person and the company are groundlessly suspected of the illegal use of the business secret.