Saturday, May 24, 2008, 5/24/2008 02:12:00 PM

Protection of Trade Secrets in the Gulf States

Okay, so this one is more a curiosity than anything else, but the Gulf Times (of Doha in Qatar) publishes a question-and-answer column called "The Legal Helpline."

Following is a verbatim transcript of one of this week's questions, from "IB" in Doha:

Q: We run a business related to artistic production and creativity. Trade secrets have a key role in this business. Is there a law for their protection?

A: According to Article 7 of the Law No. 5 of 2005, it is not permissible for anyone to obtain, use or divulge trade secrets illegally without the consent of trade secret holder. Obtainment of a trade secret independently or as a result of scientific research, or by means of self-capabilities shall not be regarded contradictory to decent commercial practices.Article 8 provides the right-holder or his successor title to claim compensation for damages incurred resulting from others’ infringement or misuse of the secret. The court may halt infringement on trade secret by taking following steps: attachment of materials containing infringed or misused trade secrets or products resulting from misuse wherever found; attachment of evidences relevant to infringement on trade secret.

What's interesting here, at least to me, is how the concepts (and remedies) are very similar to American trade secrets law, despite the differing terminology. It's just a surmise, but it may be that the idea of protecting intellectual property, including trade secrets, is more universal than some of us may have thought.

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