Francesco Inturri, speaker at the congress organized by Generali insurance on cyber security

Francesco Inturri, lawyer and partner of Andersen, was speaker at the conference “If the data is the new wealth, its protection is the new need – GDPR, cyber security… when the form is also substance”, organized by Generali insurance on 26 September in collaboration with Andersen, SAEF, and Fasternet.

On the subject of “Data protection as protection of corporate know-how”, Mr. Inturri outlined the salient features of the Legislative Decree 63/2018, which renamed “confidential corporate information” as “trade secrets”.

The term “trade secrets” (which includes technical knowledge of production methods and processes, organizational structure, commercial information, market analysis, promotional tools and rebate methods) encompasses the result of mere empirical activity which can also be acquired by third party competitors on its own.

In this sense, the offences (whether of acquisition, disclosure or use) in this context are considered to be unauthorized and not the result of independent and independent research, development and programming activities. Therefore, to possess secret knowledge and experience in good faith or to have learnt secret knowledge independently is not punishable; in 2018 was also added the offence for “guilt”, i.e. relating to phenomena dictated by negligence, imprudence, inexperience and non-compliance with laws, regulations, orders or disciplines.

Speaking to a business audience, Mr. Inturri wanted to stress the requirements for information to be protected by the ICC.

  1. First of all, secrecy, i.e. the information as a whole must not be easily accessible to experts and professionals.
  2. Then, there is the economic value in the broadest sense, i.e. that the use of such data gives a competitive advantage.
  3. Finally, protection measures (physical and legal) that are reasonably appropriate/adequate to keep information secret.

The expert of Andersen wanted to underline how this decree guarantees unlimited protection in time, free of charge and not being subject to formalities (it is sufficient that their theft involves a saving of time and costs compared to their autonomous and legitimate acquisition).

However, a certain difficulty persists in the protection, such as, for example, when the business secret is a part of a product, once placed on the market can be reproduced by a competitor, or even, if managed by a company, could be the subject of a patent by a competitor.