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KIEP Opinions

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Title Trade Secret Protection in USMCA and Its Implications for Korea
Author Hyunsoo Kim
Date 2019-07-04
File KIEP opinions_no163.pdf 

The USMCA, which was signed on November 30, 2018, contains a high-standard and comprehensive IP chapter and the most notable feature of the IP chapter in the USMCA, is that it includes a separate section for trade secrets in which strong standards of protection are set out. The United States is expected to emphasize the strong protection of trade secrets in future trade agreements and will likely work to include similar provisions for trade secret protection during ongoing FTA negotiations with the EU and Japan.
 Korea has set up a legal basis for civil and criminal procedures against trade secret theft through the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act, but the effectiveness of the act has been questioned due to the strict approval requirements for trade secrets and low compensation for damage. Last year the National Assembly approved a revised bill which reduces approval requirements for trade secrets and introduces punitive damages starting from June 2019. The revised bill is expected to provide wider eligibility for trade secrets and effective compensation for trade secret theft but it should be followed by further analyses of whether the revised act will significantly contribute to effective protection of trade secrets, or whether additional measures will be required.