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Free flow of data in industry: The end of trade secrets?


Free flow of data in industry: The end of trade secrets?

Digitisation and the use of “big data” in industry are expected to underpin much of Europe’s growth potential in the coming years. However, the EU faces a divisive debate on handling and regulation of industrial data. While some argue that data should be open to everyone, industry believes such an approach can put its trade secrets at risks, undermining innovation and competitiveness.

The European Commission is exploring these issues in its Free Flow of Data Initiative. While the benefits for start-ups are often highlighted in this context, the concerns of manufacturers need to be further explored.

During the event, participants had the possibility to discuss how Europe can provide a framework for data regulation can provide a framework not only for Internet businesses but also for European industry. Questions included:
- Should industrial data be accessible to all, or should property rights be created?
- What role should the EU play in ensuring a free flow of data in European industry?
- Does Europe need an industrial data regime similar to the one for personal data?
- What challenges do industrial companies face when digitising their production? How can they protect their trade secrets?

You can read coverage of the event in two articles on EurActiv:
- EU struggles for balance on free flow of business data
- ‘Robots are leaving the cage’, dazzling EU lawyers and regulators

Supported by:


Euractiv Network Office
Boulevard Charlemagne 1, 1041 Brussels

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Dirk Staudenmayer, Head of Unit Contract Law, DG JUST
Kaja Kallas MEP, European Parliament
Dr. Erik-Jan van der Linden, CEO, Processgold International
Dr. Laurent Zibell, Policy Adviser, industriAll European Trade Union
Holger Kunze, Director European Office, VDMA


12.00 – 12.30 Registration and networking lunch
12.30 – 13.00 Input statements
13.00 – 14.00 Open debate and conclusion