Recent Federal Decisions and Emerging Trends in U.S. Defend Trade Secrets Act Litigation

I. Introduction

  The enactment of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016[1] (the “DTSA”) marks a milestone in the recent development of trade secret law in the United States (“U.S.”).[2] Recent federal decisions and emerging trends in DTSA litigation regarding the following issues deserve the attention of Taiwanese companies who might be involved in DTSA litigation in U.S. federal courts (“federal courts”): (1) whether the DTSA displaces any other civil remedies provided by the existing trade secret laws; (2) whether a plaintiff should pay attention to any pleading standard when bringing a DTSA claim in federal court; (3) whether a federal court will easily grant an ex parte application for seizure order under the DTSA (an “ex parte seizure order”); and (4) whether the DTSA applies to trade secret misappropriations that occurred before the DTSA came into effect. This article provides insights into these developments and trends, and concludes with their implications at the end.

II. The DTSA does not displace any other civil remedies provided by the existing trade secret laws, and federal courts may nonetheless turn to pre-DTSA laws and decisions for guidance

  The DTSA states that it does not “preempt” or “displace” any other civil remedies provided by other federal and state laws for trade secret misappropriation.[3] Prior to the enactment of the DTSA, the civil protection and remedies of trade secrets in the U.S. have traditionally been provided under state laws.[4] The DTSA provides federal courts with original jurisdiction[5] over civil actions brought under the DTSA, giving trade secret owners an option to litigate trade secret claims in federal courts.[6] As a result, the DTSA adds a layer of protection for trade secrets and creates a federal path for plaintiffs to pursue civil remedies.[7]

  Some commentators point out that federal courts, when hearing DTSA claims, construing DTSA provisions or analyzing DTSA claims, oftentimes turn to state laws and decisions existing prior to the enactment of the DTSA for guidance.[8] Various decisions show that federal courts tend to look to local state laws and pre-DTSA decisions when hearing DTSA claims or making decisions.[9] This suggests that pre-DTSA trade secret laws and prior decisions remain an indispensable reference for federal courts.

III. A plaintiff should pay careful attention to the plausibility pleading standard when bringing a DTSA claim in federal court

  A plaintiff's pleading in his complaint must satisfy the plausibility pleading standard when the plaintiff brings a DTSA claim in federal court.[10] Otherwise, the plaintiff's complaint may be dismissed by the federal court.[11] Filing a motion requesting dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint[12] on the grounds of the plaintiff's failure of stating plausible claims for relief is thus a defense that a defendant may employ to defeat the plaintiff's claim in the early stage.[13]

  The DTSA opens the door of federal courts to trade secret plaintiffs to pursue civil remedies,[14] but the DTSA does not “guarantee unfettered access to the federal courts.”[15] When filing a DTSA lawsuit in federal court, a plaintiff must state “the grounds for the court's jurisdiction,” the plaintiff's claims (entitlement to relief), and the plaintiff's “demand for the relief sought” in his complaint.[16] The claim and statement pled by the plaintiff in his complaint must meet the “plausibility” threshold.[17] In other words, at the pleading stage, a plaintiff should plead facts sufficiently demonstrating that all prerequisites of his claim (e.g., jurisdiction and venue,[18] elements of a claim required by the DTSA,[19] etc.) are satisfied when bringing a DTSA claim in federal court.[20] For instance, in addition to claiming the existence of his trade secret, a plaintiff should state how his trade secret was misappropriated through improper means.[21] However, in the context of trade secrets, the plausibility pleading standard can be challenging to a plaintiff because it is never easy to balance between “satisfying the required pleading standard” and “avoiding disclosing too much information about the trade secret in a pleading.”[22]

  Let's take pleading the existence of a trade secret as an example. Under the plausibility pleading regime, a plaintiff is required to plead all relevant facts of trade secret (elements)[23] defined by the DTSA to affirmatively prove the existence of his trade secret.[24] In other words, a plaintiff needs to state sufficient facts indicating that the information in dispute has economic value while not being known to the public, and reasonable steps have been taken to maintain the secrecy of that information,[25] all of which plausibly suggest that the information in dispute qualifies as a trade secret.[26] Federal courts do not require a plaintiff to disclose his trade secret in detail in his complaint.[27] Nevertheless, a plaintiff should be able to provide the “general contour” of the alleged trade secret that he seeks to protect.[28] Federal courts would be reluctant to see that a plaintiff, merely “identify[ing] a kind of technology” or “point[ing] to broad areas of technology,” or barely asserting that the misappropriated information is confidential, then “invit[ing] the court to hunt through the details in search of items meeting the statutory definition.”[29] Instead of simply alleging that the subject matter at issue involves a trade secret, a plaintiff's complaint should contain descriptions identifying the plaintiff's trade secret.[30] For instance, in his pleading, a plaintiff has to tell what information is involved and what efforts have been made to maintain the confidentiality of such information.[31] For further example, a plaintiff should provide documents or information constituting the alleged trade secret rather than merely listing general topics or categories of information.[32]

IV. Obtaining a DTSA ex parte seizure order is challenging as federal courts tend to take a conservative approach to prevent abuse of this ex parte seizure remedy

  Since the DTSA came into effect, federal courts rarely grant an ex parte application for seizure order under the DTSA.[33] The provision for ex parte seizure orders is a controversial part of the DTSA[34] as it allows a court, upon ex parte application and if all DTSA requirements are met, to issue a civil order “for the seizure of property necessary to prevent the propagation or dissemination of the trade secret.”[35] So far federal courts have been hesitant to order DTSA ex parte seizures and are giving great deference to the statutory text of the DTSA seizure order provision.[36] Only when a federal court finds it “clearly appears from specific facts” that certain requirements are met[37] and only in “extraordinary circumstances”[38] may a federal court issue an ex parte seizure order.[39] When being confronted with an ex parte application for seizure order under the DTSA, federal courts tend to favor a conservative approach to prevent the abuse of this ex parte seizure remedy.[40] If any alternative equitable relief is available to achieve the same purpose, federal courts will likely find it unnecessary to issue an ex parte seizure order.[41] In addition, a plaintiff's mere assertion that the defendant, if given notice, would destroy evidence or evade a court order, but without showing that the defendant “had concealed evidence or disregarded court orders in the past,” will likely be insufficient to persuade the court to issue an ex parte seizure order.[42] Furthermore, federal courts will decline to order an ex parte seizure if a plaintiff fails to meet his burden demonstrating that the information in dispute constitutes a trade secret.[43] All of the foregoing suggests that one will likely face an uphill struggle in federal court when seeking to obtain an ex parte seizure order under the DTSA.[44]

  Though federal courts sparingly order DTSA ex parte seizures, to date at least one federal court did issue a published DTSA ex parte seizure order, which appeared in Mission Capital Advisors, LLC v. Romaka.[45] In Romaka, the defendant allegedly downloaded the plaintiff's client and contact lists to the defendant's personal computer without the plaintiff's authorization; the plaintiff filed an ex parte motion seeking to seize some properties containing the plaintiff's trade secrets or enjoin the defendant from disclosing that information.[46] During the trial, the defendant neither acknowledged receipt of the court's prior orders[47] nor appeared before the court as ordered,[48] all of which together with other facts in Romaka convinced the court that other forms of equitable relief would be inadequate and the defendant would likely evade or otherwise disobey the court order.[49] After reviewing the facts of this case along with DTSA requirements item by item, the Romaka court found it clearly appears from specific facts that all requirements for an ex parte seizure order under the DTSA are met,[50] and thus, issued a said seizure order as requested by the plaintiff.[51] Romaka gives us some hints about what circumstances would cause a federal court to order a DTSA ex parte seizure.[52] This case tells us that evading or disregarding court-mandated actions is likely demonstrating to the court a propensity to disobey a future court order and may probably increase the likelihood of meriting a DTSA ex parte seizure order.[53] Moreover, echoing other decisions rendered by federal courts, Romaka reveals that federal courts tend to approach ex parte seizure order applications in a gingerly way.[54]

  Federal courts take a conservative approach toward ex parte seizure order to curtail abuse of such order[55] does not mean that no injunctive relief is available to victims of trade secret misappropriation. Injunctive relief provided by other federal laws or state laws[56] is nonetheless available to those victims.[57] As long as the facts of the case before the court meet all elements required for injunctive relief, it is not rare for federal courts to grant injunctive relief other than an ex parte seizure order.[58]

V. The DTSA might apply to a pre-DTSA trade secret misappropriation that continues after the DTSA became effective

  The DTSA expressly states that it applies to any trade secret misappropriation that “occurs on or after the date of the enactment” of the DTSA.[59] Therefore, the DTSA does not apply to trade secret misappropriations that began and ended before the effective date of DTSA.[60] In practice, it is possible that a federal court will dismiss a plaintiff's DTSA claim if the plaintiff fails to state that the alleged trade secret misappropriations (either in whole or in part) took place after the DTSA came into effect.[61]

  Federal courts have begun addressing or recognizing that the DTSA might apply to trade secret misappropriations that occurred prior to and continued after the enactment date of the DTSA.[62] However, a plaintiff should “plausibly” and “sufficiently” plead in his claim that some parts of the alleged continuing misappropriation of trade secrets occurred after the DTSA became effective.[63] Some critics opine that, in the case of a continuing trade secret misappropriation that took place before and continued after the DTSA was enacted, the available recovery shall be limited to “post-DTSA misappropriation.”[64]

  By being mindful of the foregoing, maybe someday a plaintiff will bring a DTSA claim for a pre-DTSA misappropriation of trade secrets that continues after the DTSA is in effect.[65] In this kind of litigation, one should pay attention to whether the plaintiff has plausibly and sufficiently alleged the part of misappropriation that occurred after the enactment date of the DTSA.[66] When a plaintiff fails to plausibly and sufficiently alleges the post-DTSA misappropriation part, the defendant stands a chance to convince the court to dismiss the plaintiff's claim.[67]

VI. Conclusion

  To sum up, recent federal decisions and emerging trends in DTSA litigation provide the following implications to Taiwanese companies who might be involved in DTSA litigation in federal court:

1. The DTSA does not preempt or displace any other civil remedies provided by other federal laws and state laws.[68] Rather, the DTSA adds a layer of protection for trade secrets and creates a federal path for plaintiffs to pursue civil remedies.[69] Federal courts tend to turn to local state laws and pre-DTSA decisions for guidance when hearing DTSA claims or making decisions.[70] Do not ignore pre-DTSA trade secret laws or prior decisions as they remain an indispensable reference for federal court.

2. A plaintiff's pleading must satisfy the plausibility pleading standard when the plaintiff brings a DTSA claim in federal court.[71] Whether the plaintiff's pleading satisfies the plausibility pleading standard is likely one of the hard-fought battles between the parties in the early stage of the litigation. The plausibility pleading regime does not require a plaintiff to disclose his trade secrets in detail in his complaint.[72] However, a plaintiff should be able to describe and identify his trade secrets.[73]

3. Seeking to secure a DTSA ex parte seizure order in federal court will likely face an uphill battle.[74] Obtaining alternative injunctive relief would be easier than obtaining a DTSA ex parte seizure. When being confronted with an ex parte application for seizure order under the DTSA, federal courts tend to favor a conservative approach to prevent the abuse of this ex parte seizure remedy.[75] Notwithstanding the foregoing, as long as the facts of the case before the court meet all elements required for injunctive relief, it is not rare for federal courts to grant injunctive relief other than an ex parte seizure order.[76]

4. The DTSA might apply to trade secret misappropriations that occurred prior to and continued after the enactment date of the DTSA.[77] When a DTSA litigation involves this kind of continuing misappropriation, one of those hard-fought battles between the parties during litigation will likely be whether the plaintiff has plausibly and sufficiently stated the part of misappropriation that occurred after the DTSA came into effect.[78] When a plaintiff fails to plausibly and sufficiently alleges the post-DTSA misappropriation part, the defendant stands a chance to convince the court to dismiss the plaintiff's claim.[79]


[1] The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, Pub. L. No. 114-153, 130 Stat. 376 (May 11, 2016) (mostly codified in scattered sections of 18 U.S.C. §§1836-1839 [hereinafter the “DTSA”].

[2] Mark L. Krotoski, Greta L. Burkholder, Jenny Harrison & Corey R. Houmand, The Landmark Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, at 3 (May 2016); Bradford K. Newman, Jessica Mendelson & MiRi Song, The Defend Trade Secret Act: One Year Later, 2017-Apr Bus. L. Today 1, 1 (2017).

[3] 18 U.S.C. §1838.

[4] S. Rep. No. 114-220, at 2 (2016) [hereinafter “S. Rep.”]; Kaylee Beauchamp, The Failures of Federalizing Trade Secrets: Why the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 Should Preempt State Law, 86 Miss. L.J. 1031, 1033, 1045 (2017); Zoe Argento, Killing the Golden Goose: The Dangers of Strengthening Domestic Trade Secret Rights in Response to Cyber-Misappropriation, 16 Yale J. L. & Tech. 172, 177 (2014); James Pooley, The Myth of the Trade Secret Troll: Why the Defend Trade Secrets Act Improves the Protection of Commercial Information, 23 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 1045, 1045 (2016); John Conley, New Federal Trade Secret Act and Its Impact on Life Sciences, Genomics L. Rep. (Aug. 12, 2016), https://www.genomicslawreport.com/index.php/2016/08/12/new-federal-trade-secret-act-and-its-impact-on-life-sciences/; Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 1.

[5] 18 U.S.C. §1836(c).

[6] Krotoski, Burkholder, Harrison & Houmand, supra note 2, at 7; Beauchamp, supra note 4, at 1033, 1045, 1072; Lily Li & Andrea W. Paris, Help! What Are My (Immediate) Defenses to a Federal Trade Secret Claim?, 58-Sep Orange County Law. 52, 52 (2016); Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 1.

[7] Conley, supra note 4.

[8] William M. Hensley, Post-Enactment Case Law Developments under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, 59-Jul Orange County Law. 42, 44 (2017); Robert B. Milligan & Daniel Joshua Salinas, Emerging Issues In the Defend Trade Secrets Act's Second Year, Seyfarth Shaw LLP: Trading Secrets (June 14, 2017), https://www.tradesecretslaw.com/2017/06/articles/dtsa/emerging-issues-in-the-defend-trade-secrets-acts-second-year/; Jeffrey S. Boxer, John M. Griem, Jr., Alexander G. Malyshev & Dylan L. Ruffi, The Defend Trade Secrets Act – 2016 In Review, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP (Jan. 19, 2017), http://www.clm.com/publication.cfm?ID=5579; Rajiv Dharnidharka, Andrew D. Day & Deborah E. McCrimmon, The Defend Trade Secrets Act One Year In – Four Things We've Learned, DLA Piper (May 30, 2017), https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2017/05/defend-trade-secrets-act-four-things-learned/; Joshua R. Rich, The DTSA After One Year: Has the Federal Trade Secrets Law Met Expectations?, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP, Vol. 15 Issue 3 Snippets 6, 7 (Summer 2017).

[9] HealthBanc International, LLC v. Synergy Worldwide, 208 F.Supp.3d 1193, 1201 (D.Utah 2016); Phyllis Schlafly Revocable Trust v. Cori, No. 4:16CV01631 JAR, 2016 WL 6611133, at *2-5 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 9, 2016); Panera, LLC v. Nettles, No. 4:16-cv-1181-JAR, 2016 WL 4124114, at *4 fn.2 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 3, 2016); Henry Schein, Inc. v. Cook, 191 F.Supp.3d 1072, 1077, 1079-1080 (N.D.Cal. 2016); Engility Corp. v. Daniels, No. 16-cv-2473-WJM-MEH, 2016 WL 7034976, at *8-10 (D. Colo. Dec. 2, 2016); M.C. Dean, Inc. v. City of Miami Beach, Florida, 199 F. Supp. 3d 1349, 1353-1357 (S.D. Fla. 2016); GTO Access Systems, LLC v. Ghost Controls, LLC, No. 4:16cv355-WS/CAS, 2016 WL 4059706, at *1 fn.1, *2-4 (N.D. Fla. June 20, 2016); Earthbound Corp. v. MiTek USA, Inc., No. C16-1150 RSM, 2016 WL 4418013, at *9-10 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 19, 2016); Kuryakyn Holdings, LLC v. Ciro, LLC, 242 F.Supp.3d 789, 797-800 (W.D. Wisc. 2017).

[10] Michelle Evans, Plausibility under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, 16 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 188, 190 (2017); Eric J. Fues, Maximilienne Giannelli & Jon T. Self, Practice Tips for the Trade Secret Holder: Preparing a Complaint Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, Inside Counsel (June 14, 2017), https://www.finnegan.com/en/insights/practice-tips-for-the-trade-secret-holder-preparing-a-complaint.html; David R. Fertig & Michael A. Betts, The Defend Trade Secrets Act: Jurisdictional Considerations—Part I, 29 No. 7 Intell. Prop. & Tech. L.J. 3, 3-5 (2017) [hereinafter “Considerations—Part I”].

[11] M.C. Dean, 199 F. Supp. 3d at 1357; Chatterplug, Inc. v. Digital Intent, LLC, No. 1:16-cv-4056, 2016 WL 6395409, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 28, 2016); Raben Tire Co. v. McFarland, No. 5:16-CV-00141-TBR, 2017 WL 741569, at *2-3 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 24, 2017).

[12] Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b).

[13] Jessica Engler, The Defend Trade Secrets Act at Year One, 12 No. 4 In-House Def. Q. 20, 22 (2017).

[14] Conley, supra note 4.

[15] Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3.

[16] Pleading the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, the plaintiff's claim (entitlement to relief), and the plaintiff's demand for the relief sought are requirements for the pleading under Article 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (the “FRCP”). Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). The FRCP applies to “all civil actions and proceedings in the United States district courts.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 1. Thus, the FRCP requirements also apply to DTSA civil actions brought in federal courts. Evans, supra note 10, at 190; Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3-4.

[17] In Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted Article 8(a) of the FRCP, introduced the concept of “plausibility pleading,” and established the plausibility pleading standard. Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547, 570 (2007). Under the plausibility pleading standard, a plaintiff is not required to provide “detailed factual allegations” in his complaint, but he needs to state the grounds of his claim (entitlement to relief), which should be “more than labels and conclusions.” Id. at 555, 570. At least, the plaintiff's complaint should contain enough facts showing that the plaintiff's claim is “plausible on its face.” Id. Two years after Twombly, in Ashcroft v. Iqbal the U.S. Supreme Court expressly affirmed that the plausibility pleading standard established in Twombly applies to “all civil actions.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009). Accordingly, the plausibility pleading standard applies to all DTSA claims brought in federal courts. Evans, supra note 10, at 190; Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3-5. It is worth mentioning that some commentators are of the opinion that federal pleading stands are often higher than those required under state laws. Boxer, Griem, Jr., Malyshev & Ruffi, supra note 8.

[18] Gold Medal Prods. Co. v. Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., No. 1:16-CV-00365, 2017 WL 1365798, at *5-8 (S.D. Ohio, Apr. 14, 2017). See also Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 4; David R. Fertig & Michael A. Betts, The Defend Trade Secrets Act: Jurisdictional Considerations—Part II, 29 No. 8 Intell. Prop. & Tech. L.J. 12, 12 (2017) [hereinafter “Considerations—Part II”].

[19] McFarland, 2017 WL 741569, at *2-3; M.C. Dean, 199 F. Supp. 3d at 1357; Digital Intent, 2016 WL 6395409, at *3. See also Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3-5.

[20] Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 5; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part II, supra note 18, at 13-14.

[21] Boxer, Griem, Jr., Malyshev & Ruffi, supra note 8.

[22] Id.

[23] 18 U.S.C. §1839(3).

[24] McFarland, 2017 WL 741569, at *2.

[25] Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10.

[26] Engler, supra note 13, at 21-22. Providing help in identifying the trade secret in question by requesting as much detail as possible is a common point shared by the plausibility pleading standard in the U.S., and the “Case Detail Explanation Form” (to be filled out by the complainant or the victim) attached to Article 6 of the “Guideline for Handling Major Trade Secret Cases in the Prosecuting Authority” in Taiwan. However, they apply to different circumstances:

1. The plausibility pleading standard in the U.S. sets forth the threshold requirements to be met by a plaintiff in his pleading when the plaintiff brings a civil claim in federal court and applies to all federal civil actions. On the other hand, the aforementioned Case Detail Explanation Form in Taiwan is a form to be filled out by the complainant or the complainant's agent. This Form provides a reference to prosecutors for the investigation of major trade secret cases (criminal cases), but it does not serve as the basis for a prosecutor to determine whether to prosecute a case.

2. The plausibility pleading standard is not only followed by those bringing a federal civil action but also adopted by federal courts when hearing civil cases. Contrarily, the aforementioned Case Detail Explanation Form in Taiwan is provided to prosecutors as a reference for investigation. A prosecutor is not bound to prosecute a case simply based on the information provided in this Form. Likewise, this Form and the information provided therein are not binding on any court in Taiwan.

A commentator noted that the Ministry of Justice in Taiwan referred to the “Prosecuting Intellectual Property Crimes (Manual)” of the U.S. Department of Justice when adopting the “Guideline for Handling Major Trade Secret Cases in the Prosecuting Authority” on April 19, 2016. “Article 6 indicates that the complainant or the victim should first fill out the Case Detail Explanation Form, which would help the prosecution authority not only figures out whether the allegedly misappropriated trade secret meets the elements of secrecy, economic value, and secrecy measures under law, but also evaluates whether it is necessary to resort to compulsive measures”. Ti-Chu Chen (陳砥柱), Guideline for Handling Major Trade Secret Cases in the Prosecuting Authority, Louis & Charles Attorneys at Law (遠東萬佳法律事務所) (July 14, 2016), http://www.louisilf.com/zh-tw/posts/2016-07-14 (last visited Dec. 31, 2017). See also Prosecuting Intellectual Property Crimes (Manual) (4th ed. 2013), available at: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/criminal-ccips/legacy/2015/03/26/prosecuting_ip_crimes_manual_2013.pdf. However, the cover of the “Prosecuting Intellectual Property Crimes (Manual)” expressly states that its contents are provided as “internal suggestion to Department of Justice attorneys.” Id. Therefore, the contents of this manual theoretically are not binding on any federal court.

[27] Mission Measurement Corp. v. Blackbaud, Inc, 216 F.Supp.3d 915, 921 (N.D.Ill. 2016).

[28] Digital Intent, 2016 WL 6395409, at *3.

[29] McFarland, 2017 WL 741569, at *2; Blackbaud, 216 F.Supp.3d at 921; Ciro, 242 F.Supp.3d at 798.

[30] Evans, supra note 10, at 191. Some federal court decisions show that requesting the plaintiff to provide sufficient facts describing the trade secret in question is not something newly developed following the enactment of the DTSA. Rather, it has been the position held by federal courts before the DTSA came into effect. AWP, Inc. v. Commonwealth Excavating, Inc., Civil Action No. 5:13cv031., 2013 WL 3830500, at *5 (W.D. Va. July 24, 2013); Events Media Network, Inc. v. Weather Channel Interactive, Inc., Civil No. 1:13–03 (RBK/AMD), 2013 WL 3658823, at *3 (D. N.J. July 12, 2013); Council for Educational Travel, USA v. Czopek, Civil No. 1:11–CV–00672, 2011 WL 3882474, at *4 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 2, 2011); DLC DermaCare LLC v. Castillo, No. CV–10–333–PHX–DGC, 2010 WL 5148073, at *4 (D. Ariz. Dec. 14, 2010).

[31] Blackbaud, 216 F.Supp.3d at 921.

[32] Ciro, 242 F.Supp.3d at 800.

[33] Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Hensley, supra note 8, at 44.

[34] Hensley, supra note 8, at 44; Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 2-3; Rich, supra note 8, at 6; Engler, supra note 13, at 20.

[35] 18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(2)(A).

[36] Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3.

[37] Under the DTSA, a court may, only in “extraordinary circumstances,” issue an ex parte seizure order when “find[ing] that it clearly appears from specific facts that”: (1) “an order issued pursuant to Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or another form of equitable relief would be inadequate to achieve the purpose of this paragraph because the party to which the order would be issued would evade, avoid, or otherwise not comply with such an order;” (2) “an immediate and irreparable injury will occur if such seizure order is not issued;” (3) “the harm to the applicant of denying the application outweighs the harm to the legitimate interests of the person against whom seizure would be ordered of granting the application and substantially outweighs the harm to any third parties who may be harmed by such seizure;” (4) “the applicant is likely to succeed in showing that the information is a trade secret and the person against whom seizure would be ordered misappropriated the trade secret of the applicant by improper means or conspired to use improper means to misappropriate the trade secret of the applicant;” (5) “the person against whom seizure would be ordered has actual possession of the trade secret and any property to be seized;” (6) “the application describes with reasonably particularity the matter to be seized and, to the extent reasonable under the circumstances, identifies the location where the matter is to be seized;” (7) “the person against whom seizure would be ordered, or persons acting in concert with such person would destroy, move, hide, or otherwise make such matter inaccessible to the court, if the applicant were to proceed on notice to such person;” and (8) “the applicant has not publicized the requested seizure”. 18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(2)(A)(ii).

[38] 18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(2)(A)(i).

[39] Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Michael T. Renaud & Nick Armington, DTSA and Ex Parte Seizure – Lessons from the First Ex Parte Seizure Under The DTSA, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC (Aug. 21, 2017), https://www.globalipmatters.com/2017/08/21/dtsa-and-ex-parte-seizure-lessons-from-the-first-ex-parte-seizure-under-the-dtsa; Matthew Werdegar & Warren Braunig, One Year On: the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, Daily J. (Apr. 26, 2017), available at: https://www.keker.com/Templates/media/files/Articles/Keker%20(DJ-4_26_17).pdf.

[40] Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3; Dharnidharka, Day & McCrimmon, supra note 8; Werdegar & Braunig, supra note 39.

[41] OOO Brunswick Rail Mgmt. v. Sultanov, No. 5:17-cv-00017, 2017 WL 67119, *2 (N.D. Cal., Jan. 6, 2017); Magnesita Refractories Company v. Mishra, CAUSE NO. 2:16-CV-524-PPS-JEM, 2017 WL 365619, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 25, 2017).

[42] Baleriz Carribean Ltd. Corp. v. Calvo, Case 1:16-cv-23300-KMW, at 7 (S.D.Fla. Aug. 5, 2016). See also Renaud & Armington, supra note 39. A commentator opines that federal courts are reluctant to issue an ex parte seizure order against someone who has never concealed evidence or disregarded court orders before. Engler, supra note 13, at 21.

[43] Digital Assurance Certification, LLC v. Pendolino, Case No: 6:17-cv-72-Orl-31TBS, at *1-2 (M.D.Fla. Jan. 23, 2017).

[44] Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Dharnidharka, Day & McCrimmon, supra note 8.

[45] Mission Capital Advisors, LLC v. Romaka, No. 16-cv-05878-LLS (S.D.N.Y. July 29, 2016). Some commentators consider Romaka the very first case in which a federal court ordered a DTSA ex parte seizure after the DTSA became effective. Renaud & Armington, supra note 39.

[46] Romaka, No. 16-cv-05878-LLS, at 1-3.

[47] Id. at 2.

[48] Id.

[49] Id.

[50] In Romaka, the federal district court found the followings after reviewing the facts of this case along with the requirements under the DTSA: (1) “[a]n order issued pursuant to Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or another form of equitable relief would be inadequate because [the defendant] would evade, avoid, or otherwise not comply with such an order;” (2) “[a]n immediate and irreparable injury to [the plaintiff] would occur if such seizure is not ordered;” (3) “[t]he harm to [the plaintiff] of denying the application outweighs the harm to the legitimate interests of [the defendant];” (4) “[the plaintiff] is likely to succeed in showing that the information at issue is a trade secret based on [the plaintiff's] averments;” (5) “[the plaintiff] is likely to succeed in showing that [the defendant] has misappropriated [the plaintiff's trade secret] by improper means;” (6) “[the plaintiff] is likely to succeed in showing that the [defendant] has actual possession of the [plaintiff's trade secrets]; (7) “[d]espit the risk that [the defendant] would make the [plaintiff's trade secret] inaccessible to the court, or retain unauthorized copies, [the plaintiff] is proceeding on notice;” and (8) “[the plaintiff] is likely to succeed in showing, and has represented, that it has not publicized the requested seizure.” Id. at 2-4.

[51] Id. at 4. In Romaka, the plaintiff also applied for the seizure of its proprietary information other than its client and contact lists. However, the Romaka court denied the plaintiff's request for the seizure of other proprietary information because the plaintiff failed to describe “with sufficient particularity” such information and related facts, such as “confidentiality and irreparable harm.” Id.

[52] Renaud & Armington, supra note 39.

[53] Id.

[54] Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3; Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Renaud & Armington, supra note 39.

[55] Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3.

[56] For instance, the injunctive remedies available under the DTSA. 18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(3). For further example, a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order available under the FRCP. Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a), (b).

[57] As stated above, the DTSA does not preempt or displace any other remedies provided by other federal laws and state laws for trade secret misappropriation. 18 U.S.C. §1838.

[58] Cook, 191 F.Supp.3d at 1077, 1076-1077, 1079; Daniels, 2016 WL 7034976, at *10-11, 14; Nettles, 2016 WL 4124114, at *4. See also Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 2-3; Rich, supra note 8, at 6; Boxer, Griem, Jr., Malyshev & Ruffi, supra note 8.

[59] DTSA §2(e), Pub. L. No. 114-153, 130 Stat. 376, 381-382.

[60] Werdegar & Braunig, supra note 39; Krotoski, Burkholder, Harrison & Houmand, supra note 2, at 14; Engler, supra note 13, at 21.

[61] Avago Technologies U.S. Inc. v. Nanoprecision Products, Inc., Case No. 16-cv-03737-JCS, 2017 WL 412524, at *9 (N.D.Cal. Jan. 31, 2017); Cave Consulting Group, Inc. v. Truven Health Analytics Inc., Case No. 15-cv-02177-SI, 2017 WL 1436044, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 24, 2017); Physician's Surrogacy, Inc. v. German, Case No.: 17CV0718-MMA (WVG), 2017 WL 3622329, at *8-9 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 23, 2017). See also Tara C. Clancy, April Boyer & Michael R. Creta, Emerging Trends in Defend Trade Secrets Act Litigation, National Law Review (Sept. 26, 2017), https://www.natlawreview.com/article/emerging-trends-defend-trade-secrets-act-litigation; Milligan & Salinas, supra note 8.

[62] Cook, 191 F.Supp.3d at 1076-1079; Allstate Insurance Company v. Rote, No. 3:16-cv-01432-HZ, 2016 WL 4191015, at *1-5 (D. Or. Aug. 7, 2016); Syntel Sterling Best Shores Mauritius Limited v. Trizetto Group, Inc., 15-CV-211 (LGS) (RLE), 2016 WL 5338550, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 23, 2016); Adams Arms, LLC v. Unified Weapon Systems, Inc., Case No. 8:16-cv-1503-T-33AEP, 2016 WL 5391394, at *6 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 27, 2016); Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services, Inc. v. Irex Contracting Group, CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-2499, 2017 WL 1105648, at *3-8 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 24, 2017); Sleekez, LLC v. Horton, CV 16–09–BLG–SPW–TJC, 2017 WL 1906957, at *5-6 (D. Mont. Apr. 21, 2017). See also Rich, supra note 8, at 8.

[63] Unified Weapon Systems, 2016 WL 5391394, at *6; Horton, 2017 WL 1906957, at *5-6. See also Milligan & Salinas, supra note 8; Werdegar & Braunig, supra note 39. A recent federal court decision reveals that federal courts will likely dismiss a DTSA claim if a plaintiff makes no specific allegations other than a “conclusory allegation” of the continuing trade secret misappropriation. Hydrogen Master Rights, Ltd. v. Weston, 228 F.Supp.3d 320, 338 (D.Del. 2017). See also Engler, supra note 13, at 23.

[64] Unified Weapon Systems, 2016 WL 5391394, at *6. See also Rich, supra note 8, at 8.

[65] Engler, supra note 13, at 23.

[66] Milligan & Salinas, supra note 8.

[67] Engler, supra note 13, at 23.

[68] 18 U.S.C. § 1838.

[69] Conley, supra note 4.

[70] Synergy Worldwide, 208 F.Supp.3d at 1201; Cori, 2016 WL 6611133, at *2-5; Nettles, 2016 WL 4124114, at *4 fn.2; Cook, 191 F.Supp.3d at 1077, 1079-1080; Daniels, 2016 WL 7034976, at *8-10; M.C. Dean, 199 F. Supp. 3d at 1353-1357; Ghost Controls, 2016 WL 4059706, at *1 fn.1, *2-4; MiTek USA, 2016 WL 4418013, at *9-10; Ciro, 242 F.Supp.3d at 797-800.

[71] Evans, supra note 10, at 190; Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3-5.

[72] Blackbaud, 216 F.Supp.3d at 921.

[73] Digital Intent, 2016 WL 6395409, at *3. See also Evans, supra note 10, at 191.

[74] Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Dharnidharka, Day & McCrimmon, supra note 8.

[75] Sultanov, 2017 WL 67119, at *2; Mishra, 2017 WL 365619, at *2; Calvo, Case 1:16-cv-23300-KMW, at 7; Pendolino, 2017 WL 320830, at *1-2. See also Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3; Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Renaud & Armington, supra note 39; Werdegar & Braunig, supra note 39.

[76] Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 2-3; Rich, supra note 8, at 6; Boxer, Griem, Jr., Malyshev & Ruffi, supra note 8.

[77] Cook, 191 F.Supp.3d at 1076-1079; Rote, 2016 WL 4191015, at *1-5; Trizetto Group, 2016 WL 5338550, at *6; Unified Weapon Systems, 2016 WL 5391394, at *6; Irex Contracting Group, 2017 WL 1105648, at *3-8; Horton, 2017 WL 1906957, at *5-6. See also Rich, supra note 8, at 8.

[78] Milligan & Salinas, supra note 8.

[79] Engler, supra note 13, at 23.

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※Recent Federal Decisions and Emerging Trends in U.S. Defend Trade Secrets Act Litigation,STLI, https://stli.iii.org.tw/en/article-detail.aspx?no=105&tp=2&i=171&d=8077 (Date:2020/10/25)
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A Preliminary Study on The Legal Effect of the Blockchain-Generated Data in Taiwan

A Preliminary Study on The Legal Effect of the Blockchain-Generated Data in Taiwan I. Preface   Governments around the world have set various regulations and guidelines to deal with the increasing application of blockchain technology, trying to keep the law up to date with technological development and the latest trends. Among them, the application of blockchain technology to regulations has become a hot topic. Because of its features, such as immutable, easy to verify and transparently disclosed, it can improve the efficiency of law enforcement and reduce cost. Moreover, decentralization and the verification mechanism generated by mathematical computation can avoid the disputes arising from the existing system, in which the mechanism is set up and controlled by independent institutions, and thus the credibility could be universal. The international trend also shows the importance attached to the application of blockchain technology in the legal field. In 2017, the “Legal Services Innovation Index”, a study conducted by the Michigan State University College of Law and Google evaluated the level of innovation of law firms according to the search data on innovation indicators of the world’s major law firms. Blockchain has the highest number of clicks among all indices, and the average number of clicks of blockchain is more than twice that of AI.[1] In addition, there are international cases regarding the connection between the blockchain technology and legal provisions as well as the real cases that used blockchain technology to handle legal matters.[2] An organization, such as the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium (GLBC), work with enterprises, law firms, software development units, and schools to study the standards formulation and application methods of the application of blockchain technology to law-related matters. [3] This article will first discuss the legal enforceability of data generated by the blockchain technology through international cases, then review Taiwan’s current status and the legal enforceability of the data generated by the blockchain technology and to explore possible direction for regulatory adjustment if the government intends to ease the restriction on the application of blockchain in the fields of evidence authentication and deposition. II. International cases 1. US case: adjust the existing regulations and recognize the enforceability of blockchain technology   The amendment HB2417[4] to the Arizona Electronic Transactions Act (AETA) signed by Arizona in April 2017 defines the blockchain technology and smart contracts and recognizes their legal effect on signatures, records and smart contracts. HB2417 defines “blockchain technology” as a “distributed, decentralized, shared and replicated ledger, which may be public or private, permissioned or permissionless, or driven by “tokenized crypto economics or tokenless” and provides that the “data on the ledger” is protected with cryptography, is immutable and auditable and provides an uncensored truth.” It’s worth noting that although, by definition, the data is true, it is uncensored truth in nature, which emphasizes the originality of the data. A “smart contract” is an “event driven program, with state, that runs on a distributed, decentralized, shared and replicated ledger that can take custody over and instruct transfer of assets on that ledger.” Under the original AETA regulations, records or signatures in electronic form cannot be deprived of legal validity and enforceability merely because they are in electronic form. To eliminate the legal uncertainty of any blockchain related transactions and smart contracts related to digital assets, HB 2417 states that a signature that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic signature, and a record or contract that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic record. The statute also provides that smart contracts may exist in business, and a contract relating to a transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely because that contract contains a “smart contract term.” This makes the enforceability of electronic signing and electronic transactions made by Arizona’s blockchain technology equivalent to that of the signature and contract made by the traditional written format. In the following year, the Ohio governor signed the amendment SB220[5] to the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) in August 2018, which took effect from November. The focus of the amendment is the same as that in Arizona. Although, unlike HB 2417, SB220 does not define blockchain technology, the added content can still guarantee the enforceability of electronic signatures and contracts made by the blockchain technology. The focus of the two amendments in the US is to supplement and revise the laws and regulations made in the past so that they are applicable to the transaction method under blockchain technology and have the same effect as other recognized methods. This reduces the uncertainty related to blockchain technology at the regulatory and commercial application level, and is expected to attract the blockchain related companies, investors and developers. 2. Case of China: The enforceability of blockchain technology in evidence deposition is recognized in line with courts’ new type of judgment.   In September 2018, the Supreme People's Court implemented “The Provisions on Several Issues Concerning the Trial of Cases by Internet Courts,”[6] in which Paragraph 2 of Article 11 mentions that where the authenticity of the electronic data submitted by a party can be proven through electronic signature, trusted time stamp, hash value check, blockchain or any other evidence collection, fixation or tamper-proofing technological means, or through the certification on an electronic evidence collection and preservation platform, the Internet court shall make a confirmation. It shows that the Internet court can recognize the evidence deposited by blockchain technology, and its enforceability is equivalent to that of other technologies if its authenticity can be proved. Paragraph 1 of the same article also proposes the basis for review and judgment on the relevant standards for the broad definition of electronic evidence recognition. “The authenticity of generation, collection, storage and transmission process of the electronic data shall be examined and judged, and the items to be reviewed include whether the hardware and software environments such as the computer system based on which electronic data is generated, collected, stored and transmitted are safe and reliable; whether electronic data originator and generation time are specified, and whether the contents shown are clear, objective and accurate; whether the storage and safekeeping media of electronic data are definite, and whether the safekeeping methods and means are appropriate; whether electronic data extractor and fixer, and electronic data extraction and fixation tools and methods are reliable, and whether the extraction process can be reproduced; whether the contents of electronic data are added, deleted, modified or incomplete, or fall under any other circumstance; and whether electronic data can be verified in specific methods.” The judgment is based on a clear review. It is a supplement to the notarization process, which was the solo judgment basis for the enforceability of digital evidence. In addition, the rules on proof are clearly set out in Article 9, which covers two situations: online and offline. For offline evidence, the parties can convert it into electronic materials by scanning, re-shooting and duplicating, and then upload it to the litigation platform. For online evidence, it can be divided into two situations. One is the online electronic evidence possessed by the party, which can be imported to the litigation platform by providing links or uploading materials. The other is that the Internet court can obtain the structural information of the relevant cases from the e-commerce platform operators, Internet service providers and electronic data deposition and retrieve platform, and import it to the litigation platform to directly provide the information to both parties so that they can select and prove their claims. In this way, the court can use technical means to complete the migration and visual presentation of information. Before the Supreme People's Court enforced the provisions, the Hangzhou Internet Court of China recognized the enforceability of electronic evidence under the blockchain technology when hearing a copyright dispute in June 2018. The court's judgment pointed out that after reviewing the impartiality, technical level and evidence preservation methods of the blockchain evidence deposit service provider, the enforceability of the evidence is recognized, and thus the case was deemed infringement.[7] Beijing Dongcheng District Court also reviewed the blockchain deposition technology in an infringement of information network communication in September of the same year, including data generation, deposition, preservation, and recognized the enforceability of electronic evidence made by the blockchain technology. The court adopted the electronic evidence[8]. The Beijing Internet Court allows evidence deposition of the litigation files and evidence uploaded to the electronic litigation platform through the Balance Chain of evidence deposition established by the blockchain technology when handling the litigation cases online. This can prevent tampering and ensure the safety of litigation while keeping possible litigation evidence to facilitate verification in the future. While the Balance Chain is going online, the supporting standards, including the Beijing Internet Court Electronic Evidence Platform Access and Management Standards, the Enforcement Rules of the Beijing Internet Court Electronic Evidence Platform Access and Management Standards, the Application Form for Beijing Internet Court Electronic Evidence Deposition Access and the Instruction on the Beijing Internet Court Electronic Evidence Deposition Access Interface, are released simultaneously. These supporting standards prescribe the requirement of receivers, the requirement for the electronic information system of the receiver and the requirement for the juridical application of the evidence platform in details from the practical point of view so that the potential receivers can interconnect in a compliant manner while ensuring the quality of the connected data. III. Taiwan’s current situation   In the above cases, the United States amended the laws and regulations related to the electronic transaction by increasing the scope of the terms, such as electronic forms of records, signatures and transactions so that the records, signatures and transactions made by the blockchain technology is as effective as that of other technologies. According to Article 9 of the Taiwanese Electronic Signatures Act, the enforceability of the data generated by blockchain technology shall still be judged case by case in terms of the technology for electronic documents, signature and transaction formation, and its applicability or exclusion shall be determined by laws or administrative agencies. In China, the role of electronic data is discussed in the relevant standards used by the Internet Court to examine the cases. Regarding the definition of electronic materials, electronic records and electronic documents, Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the Taiwanese Electronic Signatures Act defines electronic document as a record in electronic form, which is made of “any text, sound, picture, image, symbol, or other information generated by electronic or other means not directly recognizable by human perceptions, and which is capable of conveying its intended information.”[9] In addition, Article 4 states “With the consent of the other party, an electronic record can be employed as a declaration of intent. Where a law or regulation requires that information be provided in writing, if the content of the information can be presented in its integrity and remains accessible for subsequent reference, with the consent of the other party, the requirement is satisfied by providing an electronic record. By stipulation of a law or regulation or prescription of a government agencies, the application of the two preceding paragraphs may be exempted, or otherwise require that particular technology or procedure be followed. In the event that particular technology or procedure is required, the stipulation or prescription shall be fair and reasonable, and shall not provide preferential treatment without proper justifications.” [10] The electronic records, regardless of the type of technology, are given the same effect as paper documents with the consent of both parties. In litigation, electronic records, electronic evidence or similar terms are not found in the Criminal Code of the Republic of China, the Civil Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Taiwan Code of Civil Procedure. The adoption of electronic records often refers to Paragraph 2 of Article 220 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of China[11]. An audio recording, a visual recording, or an electromagnetic recording and the voices, images or symbols that are shown through the computer process and are sufficient evidence of intention shall be considered a document. The content that is considered meaningful is that the identity of the person expressing the content is identifiable according to the content and can be used to prove legal relationship or fact in social life. The relevant standards for proof under the electronic evidence follow Article 363 of the Taiwan Code of Civil Procedure[12]. For non-documentary objects which operate as documents, including those are accessible only through technological devices or those that are practically difficult to produce their original version, a writing representing its content along with a proof of the content represented as being true to the original will be acceptable. However, the way of proof or recognition standards are not sufficiently described. Or according to Paragraph 2 of Article 159-4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, “documents of recording nature, or documents of certifying nature made by a person in the course of performing professional duty or regular day to day business, unless circumstances exist making it obviously unreliable. In addition”, and Paragraph 3 “ Documents made in other reliable circumstances in addition to the special circumstances specified in the preceding two Items.” [13] In fact, the Juridical Yuan started to promote the electronic litigation platform (including online litigation) in 2016, and has launched the online litigation business by gradually opening the application for different types of applicants and litigation.[14] However, there is no description on the technical type and inspection standards of electronic evidence. Moreover, only the litigation evidence is uploaded. There is no evidence deposition before litigation for comparison during litigation.   Under Taiwan’s laws and regulations, electronic evidence and its proving method is not significantly different from other types of evidence. The judgment of evidence shall still depend on judges’ recognition on the evidence. Taking the practice of criminal litigation as an example, it can be viewed at three levels[15]: 1. The submission of the evidence. If the evidence is collected illegally, not following a statutory method or is not logically related to the pending matters, it will be excluded. This is the way to determine whether the evidence is eligible to enter the evidence investigation process. 2. In the investigation of evidence, the method of investigation (e.g., whether it is legal), the determination of relevance and the debate on evidence (e.g., to confirm the identity of the person producing the electronic evidence, whether the electronic evidence is identical to the original version without addition, deletion or alteration) are investigated during the investigation procedure. 3. The debate on evidence is to determine the power of the evidence by considering the relationship among the elements that constitute the whole and whether the evidence can prove the connection among all elements. In addition, whether the electronic evidence is consistent with the original version is often based on Article 80 of the Notary Act, "When making notarial deeds, notaries shall write down the statements listened to, the circumstances witnessed, and other facts they have actually experienced. The means and results of the experience shall also be stated in the notarial deeds.” [16] A notary shall review the electronic evidence and record the inspection process and the inspection results to demonstrate its credibility. VI. Conclusions and recommendations   According to the latest 2050 smart government plan[17] announced in the Executive Yuan’s 3632nd meeting held on December 27, 2018, the government is planning to connect the database of each government agency through blockchain technology, and the plan also includes establishment of digital identification. It is foreseeable that there will be more and more electronic materials, documents and records connected by blockchain technology in the future. When it comes to improve management efficiency and reduce the barriers to introduce this technology to various sectors, it is necessary to adjust the related regulations. At present, there are no statutory provisions for the technology that assist the use of the electronic evidence involved in traditional litigation channels or online platforms, including using blockchain for evidence deposition and authentication . This also poses uncertainty to the judges when they make judgments. If we consider the continuous development and breakthrough of technology, which is relatively faster than the legislative process, and the traditional tangible transactions and contracts are still the majority in life, Taiwan has defined electronic materials, electronic records and electronic documents in the Electronic Signatures Act to ensure and strengthen the legal rights and benefits under the adoption of the technology. In addition, the Electronic Signatures Act also reserves the right to determine whether the technology is applicable to the laws and regulations or administrative agencies. In other words, the technology behind electronic materials, records and documents are not specified, and the aforementioned electronic materials have the same effect as the contracts and signature as the traditional written format. However, there are no standards to specify which standards are valid for evidence deposition and authentication for electronic materials on the level of deposition and authentication. In the future, when improving the relevant functions of the online litigation platform, the Juridical Yuan can also consider using technologies, such as blockchain or timestamps to provide evidence deposition service, which is expected to enhance the efficiency of evidence verification for online litigation in the future and prevent wasting review resources on invalid evidence for a better operation mode. This is in line with the government's policy direction. By providing support and demonstration of emerging technologies, not only limited to blockchain, on the legal level, it can reduce the public’s uncertainty and risk on introducing or applying the technology to legal process. This is very helpful in realizing a large scale application of the technology. [1] Legal Services Innovation Index, Phase 1, Version 1.0, https://www.legaltechinnovation.com/law-firm-index/ (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019). [2] For example, Arizona's Arizona Electronic Transactions Act (AETA) and Ohio’s Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) described the electronic signature and the enforceability of contracts under blockchain technology; in China, Beijing Internet Court provides litigation files and litigation evidence deposition service based on blockchain technology for future litigation. [3] The Global Legal Blockchain Consortium website, https://legalconsortium.org/ (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019). [4] H.B. 2417, 53th Leg., 1st Regular. (AZ. 2017). [5] S.B. 220, 132ND General Assembly. (OH. 2017-2018). [6]“The Provisions on Several Issues Concerning the Trial of Cases by Internet Courts,” the Supreme People's Court of the People’s Republic of China http://www.court.gov.cn/zixun-xiangqing-116981.html (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019). [7] Tencent Research Institute, <The era of judicial blockchain has arrived? ——from the two cases of blockchain electronic deposition>, October 23, 2018, https://ek21.com/news/1/132154/ (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019). [8] Securities Daily, <Beijing Dongcheng District Court confirmed the evidence collection by blockchain for the first time-- application of "blockchain + justice" for new opportunities in history> October 20, 2018, https://www.jinse.com/bitcoin/258170.html (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019). [9] Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the Electronic Signatures Act [10] Article 4 of the Electronic Signatures Act [11] Paragraph 2 of Article 220, “A writing, symbol, drawing, photograph on a piece of paper or an article which by custom or by special agreement is sufficient evidence of intention therein contained shall be considered a document within the meaning of this Chapter and other chapters. So shall be an audio recording, a visual recording, or an electromagnetic recording and the voices, images or symbols that are shown through computer process and are sufficient evidence of intention.” [12] Article 363 of the Taiwan Code of Civil Procedure, “The provisions of this Item shall apply mutatis mutandis to non-documentary objects which operate as documents. Where the content of a document or an object provided in the preceding paragraph is accessible only through technological devices or it is practically difficult to produce its original version, a writing representing its content along with a proof of the content represented as being true to the original will be acceptable. The court may, if necessary, order an explanation of the document, object, or writing representing the content thereof provided in the two preceding paragraphs.” [13] Paragraph 2 of Article 159-4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure [14] Liberty Times, <The Juridical Yuan is promoting “E-litigation.” Two new systems are on the road.” August 1, 2018, http://news.ltn.com.tw/news/society/breakingnews/2506118 (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019). [15] Chih-Lung Chen, “Seminar on the Reform of the Code of Criminal Procedure 3: Revision Direction of Rule of Evidence,” The Taiwan Law Review, Issue 52, Page 71-73 (1999). [16] Article 80 of the Notary Act. [17] BlockTempo, <The Executive Yuan Announced the Smart Government New Plan: the Taiwan Government will Use Blockchain Technology to Establish Information Exchange Mechanism of Various Agencies>, January 2, 2019, https://www.blocktempo.Com/taiwan-gv-want-to-use-blockchain-tech-build-data/ (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019).

South Korea’s Strategy for Reinforcing Protection of Corporate Trade Secrets-Trade Secret Protection Center

Preface In order to increase the strength of addressing issues on the infringement of intellectual property for small and medium enterprises, Korean government launched Consultative Committee for Intellectual Property Policies, leading by Presidential Council on Intellectual property and conducting with Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Korean Intellectual Property Office and Ministry of Justice, to discuss how to reinforce efficiency on handling infringement of intellecual property and work on policy for intellectual property protection. Korean government has considered trade secret as the core of corporations; however, corporations think little of it. For this reason, Korea Institute of Patent Information’s Trade Secret Protection Section, in charge of the Trade Secret Protection Center, works to avoid the outflow of business skills and trade secrets, to improve trade secret protection system, to raise awareness of trade secret protection and develops South Korea as an intellectual property power. This article aims to briefly introduce the standard management system, the diagnosis of corporate trade secret and the Trade Secret Certification Service which are schemed out by the Trade Secret Protection Center. Explanation on Major Strategies Trade Secret Diagnosis & Standard Management System In an attempt to offer a diagnosis of current problems about trade secret management in corporations for drawing up suggestions for improvements, the Trade Secret Protection Center sets up a series of questions based on the five categories: organization policy management, document access management, staff management, physical management and information technology management. There are in total 32 questions with detailed sub-questions for knowing if corporations have set up regulations and if the regulations are followed; if the regulations are not followed, if they have strategy to tackle with violation. For example, the question for internet management is to examine on how corporation manages intranet and extranet. Some possible policies are to make them separated, to do authority control or to do nothing. Here is the procedure for diagnosis: 1.Preparation Employees are asked to gather information regarding trade secret management and improvement opinions by a questionnaire. 2.Diagnosis Get the result of how well corporation has done for trade secret management by analyzing the questionnaires. 3.Plan Come up with solutions according to diagnosis. 4.Action Provide suggestions with different levels of work. Level Description A (above 81 point, Excellent) Well-formed trade secret management and great operation B (71-80 point, Good) Limited strategy with law protection for trade secret outflow C (61-70 point, Average) Weak strategy with a lack of law protection for trade secret outflow, management needed D (41-60 point, Fair ) Poor law protection for trade secret outflow, management needed badly F (below 40 point, Poor) High Risk of trade secret outflow The Trade Secret Protection Center will examine and offer staff training periodically in an effort to improve following aspects: 1.Corporation Management (1)Avoid crucial information outflow (2)Systemize issue handling and information authentication process 2.Organization Culture (1)Convey the importance of information protection (2)Decrease the incoordination among departments due to protecting key information (3)Build trade secret protection culture 3.Staff (1)Provide long-term training for trade secret protection (2)Build up ability of trade secret protection The trade secret diagnosis is considered as a way to make trade secret the key intangible asset in corporations and even to increase the competitiveness and to create profits. In addition to the trade secret diagnosis, the Trade Secret Protection Center further provides immature business with the standard management system which contains services with trade secret registration, level distinguishments, authority control, staff management, contract management and certification service. The primary goal of the standard management system is to help with production and maintenance of trade secret certification before issue occurs. When issue happens, the system is right here to submit certification of trade secret and guarantee to the court that nobody can access trade secrets except the possessor of the trade secret and the institution. In other words, the system is intended for following goals: 1.Efficientize Trade Secret Management Save time, money and manpower. Manage trade secret and related information efficiently. 2.Raise Awareness of Trade Secret Protection Among Employees Strengthen awareness and application of trade secret protection by using this system as daily work process 3.Link to the Trade Secret Certification Service Prove the original document of trade secret with the time stamp of ownership for judicial evidences. 4.Link to Information Security Solution Cooperate with various information security solutions, such as trade secret control and outflow block. Trade Secret Certification Service The Trade Secret Certification Service which is built to link to standard management system is put into practice in 2010 by Korean Intellectual Property Office. This service operates by taking the hash values from trade secret e-documents and combining them with authorized time values from trusted third-parties, thereby creating time stamps. Time stamps are then registered with the Korea Institute of Patent Information to prove the existence of original document of trade secrets, as well as and their initial dates of possession. A legal basis is built for the Trade Secret Certification Service in 2014. Amendments of Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act indicate registration and proof of the Trade Secret Certification Service and explain that an institution with more than 3 qualified staff and required facilities is eligible to be a Trade Secret Certification Service institution. The Trade Secret Certification Service is characterized by the following properties: 1.Block Trade Secret Outflow Radically Instead of the trade secret itself, this service only asks for hash value of e-records and the authorized time of ownership which make it more secure for corporations to manage trade secrets rather than maintaining under a third-party. 2.Various Electronic Records Available Various types of electronic records are available in this service, such as documents, pictures and video files which could contain production process, laboratory notebook, blueprint, marketing records, financial records, selling information and customer information and contracts. 3.Institution with Credibility It is inevitable that any piece of information could be leaked out; hence trade secret management should be executed by credible institution. For example, corporation can ask the Trade Secret Certification Service Institution to register an original document for a blueprint and get a certification. Then, the corporation can ask for new registration for modified blueprint as well. When issue occurs, the certification would be the proof of original document and time of ownership. As the Trade Secret Certification Service Institution gets legalized, the evidence of original document of trade secrets and initial dates of possession would get more convincible in court. Conclusion The trade secret diagnosis plays an essential role in understanding the level of trade secret management in corporations. The standard management system further provides with improvement and solution for trade secret protection based on diagnosis. In addition, legalized Trade Secret Certification Service also levitates the burden of proof on corporation. South Korea’s experience in trade secret management could be a good example for Taiwan to follow.

The Demand of Intellectual Property Management for Taiwanese Enterprises

Science & Technology Law Institute (STLI), Institute for Information Industry has conducted the survey of “The current status and demand of intellectual property management for Taiwanese enterprises” to listed companies for consecutive four years since 2012. Based on the survey result, three trends of intellectual property management for Taiwanese enterprises have been found and four recommendations have been proposed with detail descriptions as below. Trend 1: Positive Growth in Intellectual Property Awareness and Intellectual Property Dedicated Department/Personnel, Budget and Projects 1.Taiwanese enterprises believe that intellectual property plays an important role 74.18% of Taiwanese enterprises believe that intellectual property can increase economic value and 58.61% of those believe that it can effectively prevent competitors from entering the market. Source: created by project team members Graph 1 The benefit of intellectual property for the company 2.Taiwanese enterprises increase investment in the dedicated department and full time personnel for intellectual property Nearly 80% of listed and OTC companies set up full time personnel for intellectual property and over 50% of those have established dedicated department to handle its business that is higher than 30% in 2012. Source: created by project team members Graph 2 Specialized Department or personnel for intellectual property by year 3.Taiwanese enterprises plan budget for intellectual property each year 81% of respondent companies plan certain budget for intellectual property each year. Among the expenses items, the percentage of 90.95% for intellectual property application is the highest. Next are 58.29% for inventor bonus payment and 56.28% for intellectual property education training. Source: created by project team members Graph 3 Taiwanese enterprises plan budget for intellectual property each year Trend 2: Insufficient Positive Activation for Intellectual Property 1.Interior intellectual property personnel is seldomto be involved in the core decision making in Taiwanese enterprises Based on the importance and difficulty of intellectual property, most items in the area of high importance and difficulty are demand of professionals and practical experiences (e.g.: lack of interior talent, do not understand international technology standard and specification, lack of platform to obtain experiences and cases). Only application time is for administrative procedure of Intellectual Property Offices. Therefore, it is known that intellectual property department of respondent companies lacks experienced talents. Source: created by project team members Graph 4 Importance and difficulty of intellectual property In addition, most of the jobs of intellectual property personnel are “keeping close cooperation and communication with R&D department”, “coordinating issues relevant to intellectual property between departments” and “keeping close cooperation and communication with marketing or sales department” instead of “R&D strategy involvement” and “marketing and operation strategy involvement” (see Graph 5). Therefore, it is demonstrated that the work of intellectual property personnel is mainly for providing coordination and assistance to other departments other than corporate strategy with intellectual property as basis. Maybe it is the reason for insufficient activation and lower investment of intellectual property in the business. Source: created by project team members Graph 5 The job of intellectual property department or personnel 2.Insufficient positive activation for intellectual property in Taiwanese enterprises It is shown that 60% of firms are without and did not obtain technology transfer (among which the traditional manufacturing sector has the highest percentage). 22.95% of firms are without but obtained technology transfer and 4.51% of those are with but did not obtain technology transfer. In addition, most of the jobs of intellectual property are administration other than activation such as treatment of authorization contract and transaction and sending warning letter of infringement. Therefore, it is assumed that intellectual property is not the key for profitability in the business. 3.Taiwanese enterprises with higher R&D expenses ratio intend to have more positive activation of intellectual property Although the entire firms are not positive for activation of intellectual property, it is found that enterprises with higher R&D expenses ratio (the ratio of R&D expenses / total operating expenses is higher than average) intend to have more positive activation of intellectual property. For example, intellectual property department with higher R&D expenses ratio involves more in the decision making of R&D strategy in the business. Compared with the enterprises with higher R&D expenses ratio, the enterprises with lower R&D expenses ratio also has higher ratio in the absence and failure of technology transfer. (see Graph 6) Source: created by project team members Graph 6 Presence and achievement of technology transfer in the different sector 4.Most of Taiwanese enterprises R&D on their own so to lack of introduction experience of external R&D results Among the survey, nearly 90% of firms R&D each item on their own except the copyright part with lower percentage of 78.5%. 15.89% of it is from outsourcing development and 13.08% of it is from authorization. In addition, the outsourcing development and authroization of invention patent part have higher percentage which is 17.34% and 15.61% respectively. However, the speed of self R&D can’t meet the speed of product elimination nowadays. Therefore, under global open competition, corporate may try to cooperate with universities and research institutions to speed up R&D progress. Table 1 Source of Intellectual Property Right Source: created by project team members Further, among the services s that corporate ask for assistance from government, there are high demand for promotion of cooperation between industrial, academic and research sectors as well as assistance provided by academic and research institution to enhance corporate’s R&D ability. Based on this, it is clear established that a smooth access can help enterprises to cooperate with academic and research institutions for R&D instead of doing it on their own. Source: created by project team members Graph 7 The Government Policy for Intellectual Property 5.Taiwanese enterprises focus only on patent and trademark but ignore trade secret and copyright From the intellectual property items enterprises possessed each year, it is found that trademark has the highest percentage (over 80% for four-year average) and next items are invention patent and utility model patent. The awareness that corporates have on intellectual property is only limited to patent and trademark. They overlook that their core ability may be protected by trade secret and copyright. Source: created by project team members Graph 8 Owned IP right Trend 3: Increasing Demand on International Intellectual Property Service 1.The overseas intellectual property risk Taiwanese enterprises faced greatly varies from sectors Among the 2015 survey, 85% of respondent firms developed to overseas. Under which the highest percentage is 79.81% for overseas sale then 56.25% for self-establishment of overseas factory for manufacturing. Furthermore, the percentage of outsourcing in traditional manufacturing sector is the highest than that of other industries which 77.36% of traditional manufacturing firms established overseas factory for manufacturing. The percentage of overseas sale in pharmaceutical and livelihood sector is 91.3% and slightly higher than that in other industries. The result shows that different industry will select different overseas development strategy based on its sector characteristics and R&D difficulty. Source: created by project team members Graph 9 The overseas intellectual property risk As a whole, the highest risk that might be occurred from enterprises developed overseas is leakage of trade secrets. Next risks are 47.12% for being accused of product infringement and 42.31% for patent being registered. Further, the risk control greatly varies from different sector. The risks that industry and commerce service sector regards are quite different from other sectors. For example, its risk of dispute of employee jumping ship or being poached which accounted for 50% is higher than that of other sectors. In addition to the three common risks mentioned above, information and technology sector believes that there might be risk of patent dispute which accounted for 35.29% and is higher than that of other sectors. Source: created by project team members Graph 10 The overseas risk control which might be occurred by enterprises 2.The most dissatisfied part that Taiwanese enterprises have to the intellectual property outsourcing service is insufficient experiences on the treatment of international affairs Based on the 2012 and 2013 data, the too expensive fees is the primary factor that intellectual property outsourcing service didn’t meet the demand. However, from the 2014 and 2015 survey result, the experiences on the treatment of international affairs became the primary factor. It is shown that enterprises increase demand for international intellectual property work but current services from providers can’t satisfy it. From survey data, it is found that different sector has different demand on overseas development. Among which the pharmaceutical and livelihood sector has higher demand on the management of overseas trademark use, investigation of overseas infringement risk, contract of overseas patent authorization, contract of overseas trademark authorization, contract of overseas technology transfer and contract of overseas mutual R&D (See Graph 11). Source: created by project team members Graph 11 The outsourcing professional resources unsatisfied with demand – annual comparision Recommendation 1: Taiwanese enterprises shall build intellectual property creation strategy based on a variety of intecllectual property rights Enterprises may apply for patent, trademark, trade secret and copyright. For instance, brand management can be conducted with trademark and copyright and core technology or service can be protected by patent and trade secret instead of using trademark or patent alone as primary strategy. Recommendation 2: Provide Taiwanese enterprises with assistance of overseas intellectual property consultation 85% of respondent firms have overseas business which greatly varies from different sector so to accompany with different overseas intellectual property risk. Therefore, government may provide enterprises with the information of overseas intellectual property and even real time consultation services of overseas intellectual property risk which is the requirement to be satisfied immediately. In addition, the actual overseas intellectual property demand of enterprises can be found through this introduction of consultation services. To satisfy enterprises’ demand, service providers may need to improve their ability together. Recommendation 3: Build cooperation access of industry, academics and research to assist Taiwanese enterprises to enhance R&D ability Under the fast-evolved and competitive environment, enterprises shall not only depend on their own R&D. Moreover, they shall leverage the R&D result of academic and research institutions to improve so to make subsidy of those institutions from government have real impact on them. Therefore, there is demand of cooperation between industry, academics and research. The cooperation access between them should be built to achieve synergy of R&D. Recommendation 4: Experienced professionals of intellectual property are requried to be cultivated and demand of intellectual property human capital is needed to be expanded for Taiwanese enterprises Enterprises lack of experienced professionals of intellectual property. This demand could be satisfied only through on-the-job training for large personnel other than new graduates of department of intellectual property. Furthermore, enterprises can make department of intellectual property contribute its professional services into R&D and marketing strategy through design of organization work procedure to reduce risk of intellectual property they have to face.

A Survey Study on the Intellectual Property Management amongst Taiwanese Companies

J. Kitty Huang Chien-Shan Chiu Background In order to provide insight into intellectual property (IP) awareness, the status quo as well as potential hardship and demands arise over IP management, STLC was commissioned by IDB (Industrial Development Bureau) to conduct a survey study in June 2010. In this article, we provide briefings on the contents, research methodology and major findings of this study. About the research The survey questionnaire was sent by means of emails or posts to a total of 1000 business establishments randomly generated from the registration data facilitated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This was also the first time that such a survey has been envisaged on such a comprehensive scale, covering businesses located around Taiwan with the aim being to produce an in-depth analysis into IP management in various industries including manufacturing, precision machineries, photonics, bio-medicals, info-techs, semiconductors etc. Sixty-five percent of the respondents have less than fifty employees and the overall response rate achieved was 13.1%.1 A continuing need to strengthen IP awareness is required The first section of the questionnaire dealing with IP awareness gauged respondent companies IP knowledge and understanding through a series of questions relating to IP law and practice. When asked whether formal registration was necessary to obtain a range of intellectual property rights (IPRs), over 70% of companies replied with correct answers, namely patents, designs and trademarks. However, through other questions at a more advanced level, the responses revealed a general lack of knowledge in IP law and hence a continuing need to strengthen IP awareness is required. For instance, overall 70% of companies know that obtaining patents will require formal registration, yet surprisingly even of these over 50% incorrectly thought the manners of patent utilization, such as making products, will not result in infringing others IPRs. This result arguably suggests that respondents are in the main unaware that a patent does not give the patent owner the right to exploit the patented invention himself, but rather, he has only the “exclusive right” to stop others from doing so. For another instance, whilst 32% of respondents inaccurately thought that a formal registration is required to obtain copyrights, nonetheless this does not equate to the result being a near 70% of companies have a full and correct knowledge in regard to copyright. When faced with a slightly more obscure question of who would own the copyright in commissioned work (such as website creation) in the absence of a contract, 26% of companies didn’t know and 30% answered incorrectly. On the same token, though only 10% of respondents erroneously believed that trade secrets would require a formal registration, when asked whether the company’s client list may be a trade secret, the number of correct replies (61%) drops sharply when compared to the previous one. Though intended as a question to discriminate at the upper levels of trade secret awareness, the replies are more likely to reflect a lack comprehension of the subject among Taiwanese companies. The important message arise from the overall scales in the first section of the survey is that the need for IP awareness promotion and enhancement amongst companies in Taiwan still exists. Lack of IP expertise is a major barrier In the second section of the questionnaire companies were asked a series of questions which were intended to measure the status quo through the extent of IP management practices. Perhaps one would agree that the issue of perceptions of the importance of IP to a company is greatly linked to how effective it manages them. When asked to indicate reasons as to why IP is important to their business, the replies were rather polarized. The two most popular reasons were “means to differentiate from competitors” (33%) and “to prevent infringement” (30%). The distinction between the two is clearly that the former reason is relatively active and strategic whilst the latter is perceived to be passive and defensive. On the other hand, “to retrieve the cost of R&D” (4%) and “to attract more investors” (5%) are least likely to be seen as the reasons why IP is important to them. The results may suggest that generally speaking, Taiwanese companies tended not to utilize their IP to generate revenues nor correlate them with the business strategies, but rather, see them more of a shield to avoid infringement. Companies were asked what IPRs they own and the most common ones are trademarks (21%) and utility patents (20%), with invention patents (14%) being the third on the rank. In contrast only 2% of respondent companies own copyrights. While such result may be attributed to the overall structure of the industry, it may also link to the observation that most companies not merely lack the comprehension of copyrights but may also not be aware of owning such IPR. Furthermore, it is also surprising to find that 45% of respondents do not own any IPRs. The absence of IPRs within these companies is perhaps a key indication of poor awareness and inactive management of IPRs amongst many Taiwanese companies. To measure the extent of IP management is not easy as the intensity of it differs both by sector and by size. Therefore, the task is achieved through 9 questions designed on the concept of PDCA (plan-do-check-act) process which would allow the respondents to review and find out any inadequacy in their IP management as they proceed. One would expect that those companies with effective IP management would take care to evaluate the various IPRs required at different time intervals. Whilst all of the answer choices are considered to be “important timings”, for example “when planning for new skills/products/business” and “when further investment in IP would enhance defense (such as infringement prevention); yet the results revealed that over 60% of the companies did not perform such evaluation at whatever timing. This may suggest that in general, companies in Taiwan are inadequately concerned with the evaluation process within their management of IP. Such a result may consequently make them ignoring means to prevent infringement (such as checking competitors’ IPRs and prior-art search) or pay attention to regulation updates. Effective IP management indisputably requires certain monetary inputs. Companies were asked whether they have regularly spent on obtaining and maintaining IPRs the firm owns, and remarkably only about 36% of respondents answered this question. In addition the companies were asked about how much they spent on “application fees”2,“incentives offered to inventors”, “spending on HR” and “other expense”. Only a paltry 6% of all respondent companies spent on all the abovementioned categories and mostly up to the amount of NT$100,000 (roughly USD$3300) per each. Linked with the spending on IPRs is perhaps whether companies have designated staff responsible for managing IPRs or have a separate IP department. Again, 70% of respondents replied negatively to this question and only 10% of some larger companies (with over 200 employees) have specific personnel or department designated to assume this responsibility. The results may indicate a general lack of expertise in managing IPRs as a barrier to leveraging full value of them as well as making proper legal decision in the event of IP related disputes Companies were asked how to protect their IPRs through a variety of methods of protection though the majority (over 72%) didn’t implement any of them. The most highly identified method being “protect core skills by patents”, however, only 35% of companies adopted such protection. Furthermore, roughly 76% of the companies did not conduct training in IP issues for employees, and over 75% did not attempt to assess the efficiency of their management of IP. The explanation to the above is conceivably a general lack of IP expertise due to inadequate monetary inputs as well as perceived high costs for IP specialists within the company. The results ultimately reflect an inefficient execution of IP management in the massive Taiwanese companies. Most companies have only limited resources The final aspect of IP management that has been surveyed is the hardships occurred and accordingly the resources sought to solve them. When asked what are the major difficulties in the process of managing IP, the most common answers were “high expenditure on filing and maintenance” (18%), “lack of professional advice” (15%) and “regulatory complexity” (15%). These results are arguably all related to the facts already discussed in the afore-mentioned paragraphs. In general, the survey revealed that most companies have only limited resources and therefore highly demand external aids such as government funding or projects to help soften the hardships and improve their management skills. Accordingly, “unifying resources for enhancing IP management through a mutual platform” (22%) and “facilitate industry peer networks” (21%) being the most popular resources sought. Furthermore, 14% of the respondents indicated their urge to receive “on-site expert assistance”, and a remarkable 90% of the respondents have never been aware of the TIPS (Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System) project, which is one initiated by the government to help companies set up a systematic IP management system. As a result, efforts to promote the TIPS project should be further devoted as the initial step to assist companies strengthen their IP awareness and management skills. Conclusion The results of the survey present the status quo of IP management amongst the companies in Taiwan which is proportionally consistent with their IP awareness as well as hardships and resources sought. The present study shows what one might expect, that is larger companies tend to be more IP aware and have greater resources to manage their IPRs, whilst the rest of others (especially SMEs) are in the main inadequately aware of IP, which is crucial to enhance active IP management within and throughout their firms. While various resources are highly demanded, perhaps the government should firstly take steps to promote that awareness within and throughout their organizations. Linked with this is the second important point which is that further promotion of the TIPS project should be aimed at not only enhancing IP awareness but also assisting companies to better manage their IPRs. IP management is essential to preserve IP created by companies and the TIPS system would enable companies to foster and strengthen key aspects of IP management such as conduct training in IP issues for employees, evaluate various IPRs required, etc. Some of the complementary measures as such expert consultations and TIPS networks or seminars would also help to alleviate some of the hardships encountered in the process of managing IP. On the other hand, like the “Survey on Business Attitudes to Intellectual Property” being conducted yearly in Hong Kong since year 2004, it is suggested that the present survey research or the alike to be continually carried out to assist promoting IP awareness within Taiwan industry. Finally, we would like to thank everyone who contributed to this survey research and hope that it provides valuable insight into the goals originally proposed. 1.The survey resulted in 157 replies from which 26 of them were nullified by false or incomplete answers. 2.Application fees” include fees occurred from exploring inventions up to application and maintenance, which also include attorney fees.

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