TRADE SECRETS IN INDIA

In the period of globalization, Trade secrets have gained expanded importance, especially in the view of opening up of world market and improved competition. Moreover the fact that, as a method for protection of confidential information has leveraged its significance as trade secret protection is being preferred over patent protection. If trade secrets are property, then laws protecting them are normatively justified.

An essential investigation conducted by Microsoft found in July 2012, that senior architect broke into Microsoft’s Redmond campus and uploaded pre-release software updates of windows 8 RT and other proprietary software that can help a hacker change engineer of the code then he later gave the documents to a scandalous blogger who then posted on the internet some screen shots of the pre-released software. Earlier, the renowned technology firms SanDisk and Toshiba filed trade secrets law suits on opposing sides of the pacific, each proclaiming misappropriation by a third party originating from the two companies joint venture, in spite of having signed a non-disclosure agreement and the alleged perpetrator was arrested in Japan. In this context, it is important to discuss the Indian Law regarding the protection of trade secret in India.

Businesses are the backbone of a nation’s economy and they also have sensitive information that is essential for gaining and maintaining a competitive edge in the marketplace.  Business can suffer intractable losses if the sensitive information of economic value is disclosed to other entities. This type of information is a trade secret.  One of the most interesting examples of efforts made by companies towards protecting such sensitive information is the Coco-cola Company’s chemical formula for their product coke.

The company keeps the information under ‘lock an key, in a bank vault’. As absurd it may sound, it signifies the extent, which the corporations are going to in order to protect their respective trade secrets. The definition of the trade secret is closely dependent on the business nature. For example, the formula that the Coco- Cola Company uses for its flagship beverage is its trade secret. Likewise, in an online retail business like Myntra, the list of customers, marketing plans; sales projection or other forms of sensitive data may form its trade secrets. Since the inception of trade, businesses have faced the issue of maintaining ownership and preserving the control over their sensitive information including their trade secrets.  Traditional solutions for preserving information includes copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade regulations and contracts between business houses.

Intellectual Property is property information or more specifically, “an intangible assest., which has been granted legal protection and recognition. It includes The Intellectual Property Rights of trademarks, patents, trade secrets, copyrights and contracts.  A specific are of law, Intellectual property Rights creates legally defined property rights over innovations. It allows the creators of innovations and creative material to exercise control over innovations. It allows the creators of innovations and creative material to exercise control over, and appropriate the returns to, the fruit of their labor. There is no legislation as such related to trade secrets in India. The law related to trade secrets depend on contract law i.e., principle of equity or by way of a common law action of breach of confidence.

Intellectual Property Right (IPR) in India was imported from the west. The Indian Trade and Merchandise Marks Act 1884, was the first Indian law regarding IPR. The first Indian Patent law was enacted in 1856 followed by a series of Patents. They are the Indian Patent and Designs Act of 1911 and the Indian Copyright Act of 1914.

The Indian Trade and Commerce Act and the Indian Copyright Act have been replaced by the Commercial Trade Act of 1958 and the Copyright Act respectively, 1957 respectively. In 1948, the Government of India appointed the first committee to review the existing Patent and Designs Act. In 1957, the Government appointed Judge Rajagobala Ayyangar Committee (RAC) to review the Patent Act. The Rajagobala Ayyangar Committee presented its report in 1959, which sought to measure the constitutional guarantee of economic and social justice included in the preamble to the constitution. This report gives the patent for the drug. The report outlined the policy for the Indian Patent program.  India is also a signatory of the agreement of Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs).

Society as a whole is constantly evolving and as a result, laws governing these societies must be dynamic. These laws must keep up with the times. Actions such as Jim Crow, apartheid and slavery were legal and heavily practiced in some counties, as recently as in the last century, are now deemed absolutely unacceptable and this is all part of evolution.

This evolution also applies to subsections of the law, more specifically Intellectual property. For centuries, Intellectual property laws have existed in one way or another. Intellectual property rights as a whole are a way to prove intangible ownership over the derivatives of creativity. Earlier, identifiable patterns in architecture, signatures on work of art and stamps have been used as forms of proprietary rights. Intellectual property has grown from a mere signature on a painting to full-fledged ownership rights over a decades and ensuring legal action against infringers can be taken in full effect.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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