Protecting Trade Secrets In India: What Laws To Take Help?

INTRODUCTION

On sometimes, one finds dinner recipes that seem to employ basic items. The dish, however, would be referred to as a secret recipe by the chef. Why keep it a secret when the ingredients are so widely available? When utilised for business, the amounts of ingredients and the method of making a certain meal set it apart from others and turn it into a Trade Secret, providing the firm an edge over rivals in the market. The owner enjoys the benefits of having exclusive rights to the trade secret as long as it can be kept a secret.

With the advent of globalisation, businesses started to shatter their solitary mould. Effective trade secret protection has become increasingly important as businesses have grown. A trade secret is, in its simplest form, any crucial knowledge that is favourable to the company conducting the trade and must be kept hidden for the company’s benefit. Depending on the nature of the business or transaction, a different trade secret may apply. Due to the variegated nature of trade secrets, it is challenging to provide a precise description.

PROTECTION IS REQUIRED

Why trade secret protection is necessary is the question that now arises. Trade secrets must be protected since they are essential to a company’s operations.

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trade secrate

Like other forms of intellectual property, trade secrets must be protected, but it is equally important to distinguish between trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property. Protecting trade secrets is more akin to safeguarding reputation and brand identity, and to do so, a company must create and then uphold security protocols. In order for trade secrets to be safeguarded in the future by legal actions against infringers, continuing work is required rather than a single application and award by a government agency.

TRADE SECRETAND EXISTING IP REGIMES

Trademark and Trade Secret

A well-known and widely used product or service is a trademark. It has a clear connection to a certain company or commercial organisation. Contrarily, the scope of a trade secret is far wider, and as a result,

It is not well-known to the general public, as the name suggests.

While trademark rights can be used to stop others from using the same mark, they cannot be used to stop others from manufacturing or advertising the same products or services under a mark that is obviously different. Under the Trademark Act of 1999, trademarks used in domestic or foreign commerce may be registered with the Patent and Trademark Office.

Trade secret and copyright

The Copyright Act of 1957 states that “music, paintings, sculptures, books, computer software, architectural plans, and motion pictures” are all protected by copyright law. Although the work is inherently protected by copyright, the creator must register the work with the proper organisation in order to profit from the legislation.

Contrarily, trade secrets are private knowledge that is difficult for the general public to obtain and that has been protected from disclosure by reasonable and necessary measures taken by the owner. Trade secrets do not require to be registered, but a firm must take adequate security measures to protect them.

Patent and trade secret

As both are adequate to protect a new concept on their own, trade secret protection is usually seen to overlap with patent protection. In contrast, however, the subject matter of protection under patent law is subject to a number of inspections. The reach is far wider since trade secret protection does not have comparable criteria.

According to the Patent Act of 1970, only technological advancements that satisfy the requirements of originality, inventive step, and utility or industrial application are typically granted patent protection. Both technical and non-technical information, like a company plan or marketing strategy, might be shielded as a trade secret. Both patents can shield software and actions taken in connection with them.

HOW IS TRADE SECRET LAW GOVERNED?

According to Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act, parties are prohibited from disclosing anything that conflicts with the conditions of their agreement, such as non-disclosure agreements.

Under Section 72 of the Information Technology Act of 2000, the violation of confidentiality and privacy is illegal.

The Indian Penal Code, 1860, addresses incidents of criminal breach of trust under Sections 405 to 409.

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS

The reasons make it clear that protecting trade secrets is of the utmost significance. It controls market competition in addition to fostering innovation. The growth of the business depends on the protection of trade secrets. In actuality, a government change would considerably promote international investment. It is vital to first have some understanding of the present practises used by other regimes in order to know what changes may be made.

Consistent law is anything that is required. In order to accurately illustrate the scope, a precise definition of “trade secrets” must be supplied. The amount of protection available right now is really low. NDAs and NCAs can safeguard trade secrets to some extent, but a stronger and more refined approach would significantly drive further development.

Author: Kaustubh Kumar, A Stundent at the National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi, in case of any queries please contact/write back to us via email to chhavi@khuranaandkhurana.com or at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorney.

REFERENCES:

Verma, S.K. (2002) ‘Legal Protection of Trade Secrets and Confidential Information’, Journal of Indian Law Institute, Volume 44 (3), 336-353.

World Intellectual Property Organisation (2004) WIPO Intellectual Property Handbook: Fields ofIP Protection [online].

WIPO, Geneva. Available at [Accessed on 20/10/2014]. Zafar, M., Nomani, M. and Rahman, F. (2011) ‘Intellection of Trade Secret and Innovation Laws in India’, Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, Volume 16 (July), 341-350.

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