In addition to intellectual property rights, trade secret is the main tool for protecting information that gives a competitive advantage to its holder. The greater the advantage, the greater the value of trade secret to its holder.
The issue of disclosure of a trade secret arises not only in business practice, but also during civil procedure when pursuing a judicial protection. This can be legal action for trade secret infringements or other litigation proceedings, in which a trade secret is only part of the case file, mainly as evidence.
Measures that can be applied with the aim to protect trade secrets during civil procedure are regulated in the Civil Procedure Act (ZPP), with some special provisions being regulated in the Trade Secrets Act. The confidentiality of trade secrets in civil procedure is endangered throughout the entire procedure, from filing a claim to the announcement of the verdict. Article 219.b of the ZPP, which was introduced by the amendment ZPP-E, filled in the systemic shortcoming of the previous regulation, within which trade secrets could only be protected by excluding the public, however, has left some unanswered questions.
In the first part, this master thesis explains trade secrets in general, while the second part focuses on confidentiality of trade secrets during civil procedure by analyzing the procedural measures provided by the applicable law at each stage of the procedure. Moreover, it also points out deficiencies of the current legislation alongside with some opened questions, and offers answers by presenting the view of the legal theory and the relevant legal rules. In the last part, German legal system is presented from a comparative point of view.