Skip to main content

Navigating the Minefield of Trade Secrets Protection in China

Posted by on Thursday, November 27, 2014 in Articles, Vol. 47 No. 4, Volume 47, Volumes.

Many Multinational Companies (MNCs) now consider trade secrets to be the most important intellectual property right in China, ahead of patents, trademarks, and copyrights. While trade secrets have become more valuable than ever as a business asset in China, many MNCs also find that the protection of trade secrets in China is full of pitfalls and traps. Unlike in the case of patents, trademarks, and copyrights, China has no unified law governing trade secrets, but has disjointed provisions scattered throughout various laws. The pitfalls are also created by a high evidentiary burden in proving a theft of a trade secret that many MNCs find difficult to meet. China places an emphasis on documentary proof of the theft of the trade secret, which can be difficult to obtain. A comparison of the enforcement of trademarks in China with the enforcement of trade secrets illustrates how much more difficult it is to enforce trade secrets. In addition, MNCs that attempt to enforce their trade secrets can find themselves caught in risky and dangerous entanglements with Chinese enforcement authorities. These enforcement authorities often demand illegal payments as a price of enforcement. While these enforcement problems admit of no easy solutions given the realities of China’s current trade secrets legal regime, many of these problems can be avoided altogether if MNCs implemented some simple advanced planning and preventative measures. MNCs should invest in these preventative measures that, if carefully implemented, can avoid the traps in China’s murky enforcement regime while at the same time protect valuable confidential and propriety information of the company.

Leave a Response


ExpressO Top 10 Law Review


ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Journal is pleased to announce its 2018-2019 Board of Editors. View the complete masthead here.

Vanderbilt University Law School Professor Michael A. Newton’s 2016 VJTL Article entitled How the International Criminal Court Threatens Treaty Norms  was cited by the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s November 2017 filing seeking investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan.

May 2018 Issue on the Second Israel Defense Forces International Conference on the Law of Armed Conflict. Read more about the Journal’s May 2018 issue here.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Journal’s 50th Anniversary celebration on October 5, 2017! View photos from the event here and read about the Journal’s history here.

Connect with the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law on LinkedIn.

The Journal is pleased to listed as the #5 International Law Journal by the 2017 Washington and Lee Law Journal Rankings.

The Journal is very excited about the success of our February 2017 Symposium, “Sovereign Conduct on the Margins of the Law.” Read more about our February 2017 Symposium here

Please join us in congratulating the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 2017-2018 Write-On Competition Winners.

Video is available from the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law’s 2015-2016 SymposiumThis is Not a Drill: Confronting Legal Issues in the Wake of International Disasters. Watch here.