The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), the pan-European representative body for the chemicals industry, has welcomed the adoption by the European Commission of a proposal for a directive on the protection of trade secrets.
The directive, announced on Nov. 28, would aim to protect innovation know-how and confidential business information (CBI) on a harmonized basis at the European Union level.
The Commission said one in five companies has reported at least one attempt to steal its trade secrets in the past 10 years.
Cefic director general Hubert Mandery said: "This is a critical step to protect European companies' CBI in the case of misappropriation. For chemicals producers in Europe, CBI is an important, intangible asset. The proposal would empower them to more confidently invest in Europe."
The organization argues that protecting intellectual property makes an important contribution to the pursuit of innovation in Europe's chemicals industry.
In its statement, Cefic said: "Action by the European Commission in this area is crucial to innovation, the fruits of which benefit European citizens' daily lives and can help boost Europe's ability to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises."
Cefic has campaigned for a range of intellectual property protection measures, including patents. In 2012, it welcomed the introduction of a unitary patent across the EU and an agreement to set up a unified patent court. It says the Commission should now pursue global patent law harmonization.
The organization is also seeking stronger enforcement of action against counterfeiting and suggests Europe can take a lead on a coordinated approach to this issue at a global level.