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Draft Amendments to the Trade Secrets Act

The Trade Secrets Act ("TSA") was enacted and went into effect in 1996, and was subsequently amended in 2013.  To evaluate the results of implementing the amended provisions in the past four years, the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs ("TIPO") held a conference on February 22, 2017, inviting representatives from the industry, the Judicial Yuan, the Ministry of Justice, the National Police Agency of the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of Labor to discuss further amendments to the TSA.  After consolidating relevant opinions, the TIPO prepared and published the draft amendments to the TSA on April 20, 2017 ("Draft Amendments") and held a public hearing on May 5, 2017. 


The key points of the Draft Amendments are as follows:


1.     Originally the infringement of trade secrets outside of this jurisdiction (i.e., Taiwan) is publicly prosecuted (Article 13-3).  In the Draft Amendments, it is revised to be indictable only upon complaint by the holder of the trade secrets.


2.     An Article 13-5 is added in the Draft Amendments so that the unrecognized foreign legal entity may also file a lawsuit to enhance the protection of trade secrets to the foreign entities.  This amendment may promote international trade and increase the multinational enterprises' willingness to invest in Taiwan.


3.     An Article 13-6 is added in the Draft Amendments which makes protective order available.  During the investigation by the public prosecutor, if the materials being investigated involve trade secrets, the public prosecutor may order to deny or limit the accessibility to review, duplication, or videotaping of such materials.


4.     The scope of reciprocity treatment in Article 15 is expanded from the originally provided bilateral agreements and treaties to multinational treaties as well as relevant trade secrets protection agreements entered into by relevant private organizations to meet the needs in reality.


Nonetheless, after the public hearing, the consensus is that Article 13-3 should not be revised (that is, the infringement of trade secrets should remain to be publicly prosecuted, but not be indictable only upon complaint), and that the other amendments should be proceeded as proposed.


The TIPO will further adjust relevant provisions based on the meeting conclusions and will provide a revised version of the Draft Amendments for the public's discussion.  Afterwards, it will submit a consensus version for the law amendment.