Trade secrets were first introduced into China law through the Article 10 of the “Anti-Unfair Competition Law of China” (effective Dec. 1, 1993). This defines a “trade secret” as technological or business information that (a) is unavailable to the public; (b) creates economic benefits for its owner and is of practical utility; and (c) is subject to measures taken by its owner to maintain its secrecy. And it defines “misappropriation” as taking place when:
- a party acquires the owner’s trade secret by improper means such as theft, economic inducement, or coercion;
- a party discloses, uses, or allows other parties to use the trade secret acquired by these means;
- a party discloses, uses, or allows other parties to use the trade secret in violation of an agreement with, or requirement by, the owner to protect the trade secret; or
- a third party acquires, uses, or discloses other parties’ trade secrets with the actual or presumed knowledge of the above-mentioned illegal acts.