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Title: 中國商業秘密保護法制之研究
Study on the Legal Protection of China’s Trade Secrets
Authors: 陳香君
Chen, Hsiang Chun
Contributors: 王文杰
Wang, Wen-Chieh
Chen, Hsiang Chun
Keywords: 營業秘密
Trade Secrets
China Anti-Unfair Competition Law
Trade Secrets Law
Access and Similarity Doctrine
Economic Espionage
Date: 2021
Issue Date: 2021-08-04 15:44:48 (UTC+8)
Abstract: 中國大陸雖於2008年6月即提出以2020年爲目標的國家「知識産權戰略綱要」作爲策略指導,以階段性地改革智慧財產權法制為目標之一。然而對於知識産權保護所面臨之內外困境,卻可於2016年12月30日「十三五 國家知識産權保護和運用規劃」指出中國大陸本身面臨著「舉證難、周期長、成本高、賠償低」之內部窘境;國際上,西方先進國家對於中國大陸嚴重侵犯知識産權與侵犯商業秘密的撻伐也聲浪不斷,特別是中美貿易戰爭下的美國。美國從近年的《特別301報告》可見其對於中國大侵犯知識産權之意見,且不斷指責中國大陸要求外商企業强制技術轉讓與企業的商業秘密沒有得到充分的保護,2018年起中美貿易摩擦加劇,美國更以禁制令制裁華爲(HUAWEI)、中芯國際(SMIC)等數家中國大型企業竊取美國商業秘密,貿易摩擦衝突已導致中國大陸經濟遭遇挫折。美國更於2019年世界貿易組織(WTO)機制癱瘓後,以雙邊經貿談判與中國大陸簽屬2020年1月《中華人民共和國政府和美利堅合衆國政府經濟貿易協議》(第一階段),迫使中國大陸加強智慧財產權保護。協議中有關商業秘密和商務信息保護議題明於第一章,以大篇幅羅列七項改善要點,內容顯見中美雙方在保護商業秘密的法制上存有重大差異。



Although Mainland China announced the national "Intellectual Property Rights Strategy Outline" with the goal of 2020 to enhance the entire IP protection since June 2008, one of the targets is to reform the legal system to protect IP Rights in stages. However, they are still facing the dilemma in the weak protection of IP Rights whereby the challenges from inside the country but also form internationals, as it was pointed out in "Thirteenth Five-Year National Intellectual Property Protection and Application Plan" dated December 30, 2016. China itself is showing " Difficult Adducing Evidence, Long Litigation Cycles, High Lawsuit Costs, and Low Compensation" in the overall litigation outcomes, and the western developed countries make constant complaints to China’s serious infringement of trade secrets, especially USA in US-China trade war. From recent years USA "Special 301 Report" indicated its views on China’s major infringement of trade secrets and improperly force the foreign investors to transfer its technology. Since 2018, US-China trade frictions becoming more intensified, the United States even via issuing of Executive order to ban several large Chinese companies in trade, such as Huawei, SMIC. Trade frictions and conflicts have caused a setback of China's economy. Moreover, when the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) mechanism was paralyzed in 2019, the United States signed a bilateral agreement with China in January 16, 2020 named "Economic and Trade Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the United States of America" (Phase 1) (as “the Bilateral Agreement” the after), forcing China to strengthen its protection of IP Rights and other key issues. The issue of Trade Secrets and Confidential Business Information protection is set out in chapter One of “the Bilateral Agreement”, which lists 7 key points for improvement in a large space. The content clearly shows the major differences in the legal systems of trade secrets protection in betweens.

Since the 4th quarter of 2020, China government have intensively issued legal documents on the revising of trade secrets protection, substantially enlarged the scope of constituent elements, and of the infringement subjects, redefined the key elements for civil proceedings and for administrative punitive sanctions, lowered down the threshold of criminal conviction, and added Criminal Law Article 219A for a new crime of “whoever steals, pried into, buys or illegally provide any trade secret for any overseas institution, organization, or individual” to punish any economic espionage activity. Various legal documents announced via China Supreme People Court’s preliminary judicial interpretation, and/or China State Market Regulatory Administration’s administration procedural law, which are linked back to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, and Criminal Law, the two major laws for Trades Secrets. The official reasons of all the amendments and additions are never indicating this bilateral agreement with the effective of February 14, 2020, however strong believes that the entire revision works should kicked off in 2017 whhen US trade injunctions made to China key enterprises concurrently. It shows the necessity and urgency that China should reform the legal system to meet its obligations. China’s new plan is set 2022 as an effective prevention prone to frequent infringements, and the goal to reach a higher level of social satisfaction is by 2025.

On the other hand, in Taiwan, serious incidents of infringements on the trade secrets happened to Taiwan key enterprises, which huge impacts on enterprises and the competitiveness of industries, and even endangered our economic security and national security. Since the "Trade Secrets Law" was amended in 2013 to add Article 13-2 extraterritorial penalties, it noted no penalties imposed to the subject of infringement outside the territory. In addition to re-amending of Trade Secrets Law Article13-2, it is worth exploring the claim of extraterritorial infringements to China given their legal system has been reformed. Moreover, Taiwan entities do the business with China entities, or even thru partnership, it would be bound to face higher legal risks from now. Taiwan entities must fully grasp the connotation of the changes in the China's legal system and adjust business strategies and uplift the risk management of intellectual property rights.

China new legal system for the protection of trade secrets has been uplifted and in line with international standards, it’s changes and impacts deserved the attention from Taiwan legislators, scholars and businessmen.
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