Trade Secret and Innovation Policy in India

    Posted on 25 February, 2023 by Irika

    Trade Secret and Innovation Policy in India


    The 5th National Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy of the Government of India will be launched; it is a comprehensive and practical policy devoted to science, technology, and innovation above all. Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) is intended to be reoriented in terms of goals, industry emphasis, and strategies by the policy. If the suggested National Innovation Act is approved by the parliament, the goal of the policy will be achieved. The proposed legislation will be successful in advancing excellence in technology, education, and science because it encourages research and innovation while providing specific safeguards to protect trade secrets, confidential information, and innovation. It also develops a national integrated science and technology plan and codifies and consolidates existing laws to protect trade secrets, confidential information, and innovation.

    The way that trade secret law works into the broad context of contract, competition, invention, and intellectual property rights makes it special. In a post-liberalized Indian economy with TRIPS compliance, this is best adapted to a variety of innovators and creators. There is no legislation in India to protect these trade secrets, which leaves the security of what might be regarded as the most crucial form of Property vulnerable. Additionally, as a party to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, India has a duty to safeguard trade secrets (TRIPS).


    Innovation policy

    The Indian government has released a draft of its national science, technology, and innovation policy in light of the increasing realization that science can help solve many of society's most pressing issues (STIP 2020).

    The STIP will be led by the goal of putting India among the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come. Aside from that, the policy describes ways to improve India's STI ecology in order to realize Atmanirbhar Bharat's larger goal. Through advances in science and technology, India's STI policy contributes significantly to the worldwide promotion of socioeconomic and political growth.

    The 5th Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy aimsto - 

    • promote, create, and cultivate a strong system for stakeholder-driven STI planning, information, assessment, and policy research in India.
    • In order to encourage India's socioeconomic growth and make the Indian STI ecosystem viable on a global scale, the policy also acknowledges and addresses the strengths and flaws of the Indian STI ecosystem.
    • Enhancing financial means for STI initiatives with a long-term outlook through public and commercial funding. empowering STI through the use of efficient ethical and regulatory structures, promoting open science, enabling access to all outputs and data from publicly supported research.
    • To encourage communication and cooperation among the various STI ecosystem participants in order to handle complicated problems that call for a multidisciplinary strategy, effective resource management, and the application of research.
    • In order to fully utilize India's place on the global stage in all technology fields, with a focus on sustainable technologies, strategic technologies, and mega science, and to better the country's technological growth in order to meet the socioeconomic requirements of the nation, it is important to do so.This will help to decrease reliance on technology imports.
    • To improve India's ability to compete globally in STI and to advance scientific diplomacy abroad and globally so that the country can continue to hold a competitive advantage in those fields.
    • STI ecosystem needs to be strengthened in order to increase resistance against upcoming social and economic shocks.
    • To safeguard a clean environment for the nation's citizens and its future generations through scientifically-based green projects that support sustainability and pure energy, water, air, rivers, forests, parks, and communities.


    Trade Secrets

    The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) unifies all intellectual property rights under a single international set of regulations and establishes basic IPR protection standards, enabling the movement of technology across international borders. The TRIPS Agreement recognizes trade secrets under ‘undisclosed information’, but remains silent on the mechanism and modalities.Trade secret security differs by state but is typically territorial in nature under intellectual property (IP) laws. The protection of technological and business information under trade secret law guards against illegal commercial use by third parties. There are no such criteria for trade secret security as there are for patent protection. A trade secret can therefore be kept private for as long as the company desires.

    A trade secret is typically defined as "any formula, pattern, device, or compilation of information used in one's company, which provides person the opportunity to gain an advantage over competitors."

    In general, all meanings of trade secret share the following three characteristics:

    (i) it is information not generally known to the public,

    (ii) it confers economic benefit by maintaining secrecy and confidentiality

    (iii) is the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.

    Trade secrets in India are only protected by traditional court rulings, as well as by rules and elements of equity law, contracts law, and tort law. The lack of trade secret law has always made decisions challenging, but judicial pronouncements have always attempted to create and safeguard trade secrets and provide remedies for confidentiality breaches. Trade secrets and confidential material are not specifically protected by legislation in India.

    Indian courts and tribunals, on the other hand, support the preservation of business know-how, private information, and trade secrets. Under common law, trade secrets may be widely protected from action of misuse. Trade secrets can be taken unfairly if a confidentiality agreement is broken or if a third party gains illegal access to private information. This misappropriation may involve taking illegally obtained information or misappropriating information that has been given in trust.

    The Indian Courts have streamlined three categories of scenarios in which legal action may be taken:

    (a) when any employee obtains a secret or any confidential information in the course of his employment and either negligently or knowingly discloses that information to any unauthorised person;

    (b) when any unauthorised person (who may be a potential employer) induces such an employee to disclose such information as has been mentioned above; and

    (c) when, under a legal obligation, such an employee is required to do so.

    Indian courts and judges have made it abundantly clear that for the benefit of Indian companies, they will safeguard trade secrets through common law in the lack of legislation. The Delhi High Court stated inJohn Richard Brady and Ors v. Chemical Process Equipment P Ltd and Anr,a case involving the unauthorised use of trade secrets, that it would be in the interests of justice to prevent the defendants from abusing the technical information, specifications, and know-how regarding the plaintiff's fodder production unit that had been entrusted to them under the express condition of strict confidentiality.

    As a result, while there are some sections that aim to safeguard trade secrets in some manners, there is nothing specific and definite. Any rule must be clear and cannot be ambiguous or unclear in order to serve its intended purpose. Additionally, as a signatory to the TRIPS Agreement, India is obligated to enact a specific law or modify existing legislation to provide the highest level of trade secret security. Undisclosed information will be treated as a proprietary asset of the boss or business as a result of legislation. Trade secrets are becoming increasingly valuable, and anything valuable needs to be well secured. It is important to understand that trade secrets are now a worldwide problem rather than a national one.

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    Tags: india, intellectual property, trade secret, innovation policy, STIP




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