Trade Secret Reform in China

Recent Political and Legal Efforts To Reform Trade Secret Law in China  

There are only two categories of companies affected
by trade secret theft: those that know they’ve been
compromised–and those that don’t.


With interests in business, China’s emerging impact on globalization, and trade secret law, I wrote this paper in hopes of understanding what protection a U.S. company, particularly the NBA, that shares its intellectual property rights, particularly the company’s trade secrets, might find from Chinese courts. Under the supervision of my trade secrets professor, I used this past summer to gain insight and understanding into Chinese legal and business practices, which I want to share.

Traditionally, Chinese courts did not emphasize protecting trade secrets.  Trade secret protection came from a system of self-regulation between a master and his or her apprentice. Today, China has made efforts to reform both its political and its legal framework to protect trade secrets. For example, on January 1, 2013, China made effective its first law that provides preliminary injunctive relief for holders of trade secret rights; eight months later, a Chinese court applied this law, enforcing a preliminary injunction to protect an American company’s trade secrets. Additionally, China’s legal system neither adheres to precedent nor allows its judges to cite cases; however, the Supreme People’s Court of China’s creation of few Guiding Cases has begun to create a feel of common law throughout the country.

This paper highlights several improvements in the country’s political and legal infrastructures that would provide encouragement to U.S. companies looking to not only do business but also protect their trade secrets in China. The paper provides both insight into employee mobility issues and proposes considerations that U.S. companies should keep in mind in doing business in China, for example, choosing a particular jurisdiction to file a claim for trade secret infringement over the other.

To read the article in its entirety, click on the following link:  Political and Legal Reform in China

Very truly yours,

Andrew M. Scott
J.D. Candidate, 2015
Executive Development Editor
Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly
University of California Hastings, College of the Law

[i] Attorney General Eric Holder, Remarks at the Administration Trade Secret Strategy Rollout (Feb. 20, 2013), available at

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