Sap and Siemens against the Data Act, a risk to competitiveness?

German technology companies, says Reuters, have turned to EU institutions to highlight the risks of the new regulation on the sharing and reuse of industrial data.

Posted on 09 May 2023 by Redazione

The European Data Act does not even like Sap and Siemens, as well as the US technology giants who in the past have criticized the new legislation governing the use, sharing and reuse of industrial data generated within the borders of the European Union, both those owned by companies and those affecting consumers.

Approved last year by the European Commission and passed a month ago under the scrutiny of Parliament, the Data Act aims to encourage the sharing and reuse of industrial data between multiple subjects, overcoming legal, economic and technical constraints (portability and interoperability) still existing. This, according to the Commission, will improve competition and fuel aftermarket services, contributing hundreds of millions of euros to Europe’s gross domestic product.

The point of view of the vendors is however very different. The Data Act is criticized on two opposing fronts: for US operators it is too restrictive; for European operators, such as Siemens and Sap, it jeopardizes industrial secrecy.

Reuters revealed that the German Sap,  Siemens Healthineers, Brainlab (media technology company) and Datev (software house), together with the interest group DigitalEurope addressed a letter to the three main European offices involved in the Data Act, that is the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, and the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, Thierry Breton. The letter, dated 4 May, states that the proposed regulation "threatens to weaken Europe’s competitiveness by forcing the sharing of data, including central know-how and design, not only with users but also with third parties”.
 

In fact, European companies like Sap and Siemens may be forced to share their data with third parties that are also their competitors, and that in most cases do not reside in the European Union and therefore are not subject to the same limits. The petitioners therefore ask for protection mechanisms to be in place, also in order to be able to reject requests for data sharing if they concern industrial secrets or health data, or have implications for cybersecurity or physical security.

"The Data Act is not trying to amend European or national industrial secrets law," said a spokesman for the European Commission, Johannes Bahrke, at a press conference. "However, it is important that trade secrets are not used as an excuse not to share data".

Tags: siemens, sap, europe, industry, European Union, Data Act

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