Disclosure of a company secret

Jan Kowalski was employed with a production company ABC in the position of a sales director. During business meetings, Jan Kowalski met Adam Nowak, president of the management board of DEF company. Adam Nowak persuaded Jan Kowalski to turn over to DEF, for a fair remuneration, the sales margin applied by ABC. Within the ABC company, rules of procedure were applied which defined what was to be understood as a company secret of ABC (publicly undisclosed technical, technological, production, commercial and organizational information in respect of which the employer has taken all necessary measures to protect their confidentiality as specified in the annex to the rules). Before starting work, every employee was signing a statement of having familiarized with and adhering to the rules of procedure. In its offers, DEF company referred to information about margins applied by ABC and pointed out to its own lower prices.

Odpowiedzi udziela:


Piotr R. Graczyk



Pursuant to article 11, section 1 of the Act on combating unfair competition, an act of unfair competition consists in transferring, disclosing or using someone else’s information being a company secret or obtaining it from an unauthorized person if it threatens or jeopardizes the interest of an entrepreneur. Provision of section 1 is also applied to a person who does work under an employment relationship or other legal relationship – for the period of three years from expiry thereof unless the agreement provides otherwise or the obligation of confidentiality has expired (article 11 section 1 of the Act on combating unfair competition).

ABC is entitled to the following remedies:

– civil law claims against DEF: stopping unlawful acts (removal of information about margins of ABC from DEF offers); curing the effects of unlawful acts (removal of information in offers about margins of ABC), making a single or repeated declaration of suitable content and in suitable form (apologizing ABC for an act of unfair competition), repairing the damage caused, in line of general principles, adjudging a suitable amount of money for a specified public purpose related to supporting the Polish culture or protection of the national heritage – if the act of unfair competition was culpable;

– notification to the competent prosecutor’s office of a crime committed under article 23 section 1 of the Act on unfair competition (he who contrary to his obligation towards the employer discloses to another person or uses in his own business activity the information being a company secret, if it causes substantial damage to the entrepreneur, shall be subject to a fine, restriction of freedom or imprisonment up to 2 years).