Tougher Trade Secrets Act gets through
By Ted Chen, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Trade Secrets Act (營業秘密法) was ratified yesterday, with significantly higher fines and prison terms for offenders, and additional penalties levied on cases involving the misappropriation and delivery of trade secrets to offshore entities.
January 12, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
In an effort to protect Taiwan's trade and industrial secrets and to ensure international competency, penalties have been increased for the acquisition, misappropriation, replication and otherwise unauthorized uses of trade secrets.
Lawmaker Lee Guei-min (李貴敏) said that in light of the recent prevalence of South Korean companies poaching human resources from Taiwanese companies with the lure of high salaries, it is vital for Taiwan to develop adequate measures to protect its industrial and trade secrets. In Lee's opinion, the talent-drain to South Korea poses a long term detriment to the creative capabilities and competency of Taiwanese industries.
Lee added that the new act will inculcate further collaboration with international companies and foreign investments, as the newly increased penalties will serve as a deterrent to potential offenders. Lee concluded that Taiwan will no longer be a hot bed of stolen trade secrets to be sold to the highest bidders in South Korea and China.
The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (經濟部智慧財產局) indicated that under the current amendments, offenders are subjected to a minimum sentence of 5 years with a maximum of 10 years; and minimum fines of NT$1 million with the maximum set at NT$10 million. For offenders whose illegal gains exceed the maximum fine, additional fines of three times the amount of illegal gains will be levied.
For cases of trade and industrial espionage involving offshore entities, the penalties have been increased to a maximum sentence of 10 years with the minimum set at 1 year; and a minimum fine of NT$3 million with the maximum set at NT$50 million. For offenders whose illegal gains exceed the maximum fines, additional fines of two to 10 times the amount of illegal gains will be levied.