Legislators said on July 26, 2012 that currently when the trade secrets of an enterprise was stolen, the enterprise could only claim a civil damage for it (pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Article 13 of the Trade Secrets Act); If the party involved has the obligation pursuant to related laws or contracts to keep the industrial/trade secretes that he knows or holds through business and nevertheless leeks it without a proper reason, then he will be sentenced with a maximum of one year of imprisonment, detention or a fine of a maximum of NT$ 1,000 (under Article 317 of the Criminal Law).
The hurt to an enterprise caused by a trade secret infringement is by far severer than that of a common theft.
By contrast, a common theft shall be imposed with a maximum of five years of imprisonment (under Paragraph 1 of Article 320 of the Criminal Law). Obviously, the penalty to the infringement of trade secrets under the current law is over petty.
Trade secrets are critical to enterprises. If an enterprise choose to protect itself by means of trade secrets rather than by other methods such as patents, it means that there must be an absolute necessity not to disclose this secret. If the law can not deter crimes related with the infringement of trade secrets, it might decrease companies' willingness to R&D and innovation, as well as impede foreign investments.
Therefore, legislators proposed to not only aggravate the criminal responsibilities to a maximum of five years of imprisonment, but also change the upper limit of the fine to an amount up to all the perpetrator's illegal incomes/interests, thus solely constituting an effective determent to the obtaining of trade secrets by means of poaching key talents, which frequently occurred nowadays in the industrial fields. In this regards, the IPO of the Ministry of Economic Affairs will, before the next legislative session, submit a revision to the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan for examination after planning internally to revise related provisions to aggravate the relevant criminal and civil responsibilities.