Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 4/27/2010 07:30:00 AM

China Offers Guidance, Sort Of, About What Trade Secrets are Under Chinese Law


From The Australian, home country paper for the Rio Tinto executives who were convicted of stealing trade secrets in China, a story concerning China providing, apparently for the first time, a definition of what a trade secret actually is.


The Chinese state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission issued what the paper said were “wide-ranging and vague” definitions that “may have done little to clarify matters.”


According to The Australian:

In its 34-clause notice, the commission said secrets range from financial information to strategic plans, from technology to mergers, procurement to restructuring - virtually anything that hasn't been publicly disclosed and could hold economic value to the company.


And, according to the story, “under the newly published rules, details of negotiations involving government-owned companies – such as iron-ore pricing talks – are considered commercial secrets.


Some American state laws about trade secrets are a little vague, we'll grant you, but vagueness and criminal convictions simply don't go together in our common law tradition.

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