Protection of trade secrets in Argentina
Confidentiality provisions in penalty procedure for acts of unfair competition

The trade secrets legal regime, which protects secret, commercial and valuable information from misappropriation by third parties, constitutes the main alternative to the protection granted by the patent system.

Protection of trade secrets in Argentina

In Argentina, trade secrets are protected by:

  • the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (section 39(2));
  • section 156 of the Penal Code;
  • Law 24,766 (the Confidentiality Law); and
  • Emergency Decree 274/2019, which regulates the different aspects of unfair competition.

Specifically in relation to secrecy, section 10(j) of the Decree sets out in its first paragraphs that the following instances are considered acts of unfair competition:

Violation of secrets: disclosing or exploiting, without the authorization of the holder, trade secrets of third parties accessed either lawfully, but under duty of confidentiality, or unlawfully. For these purposes, the acquisition of secrets through espionage or similar procedures shall be considered unfair, notwithstanding the penalties that might be established by other rules.

The violation should be effected with the aim of seeking own or third party's advantage, or damaging the holder of the secret.

Confidentiality provisions in penalty procedure for acts of unfair competition

The penalty procedure for acts of unfair competition provided for by the Decree – which can be commenced either officially or through a complaint brought by any human or legal, public or private person – establishes the circumstances in which information must be kept confidential (article 48):

The request for discretion over a commercial, industrial, technological or, in general, business secret shall be granted provided that:

a) It refers to knowledge of reserved or private nature about a certain subject matter;

b) Those who can access said knowledge have the will and conscious interest in keeping it reserved, taking the necessary measures to maintain said information as is; and

c) The information has commercial value, either effective or potential.

For further information on this topic please contact Daniel R Zuccherino at Obligado & Cia by telephone (+54 11 4114 1100) or email ([email protected]). The Obligado & Cia website can be accessed at