The Executive Yuan is to draft amendments to the Trade Secrets Act (營業秘密法) to define sensitive technologies in an effort to prevent China from stealing Taiwanese trade secrets, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said yesterday.
The issue was brought to Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) attention by Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三), who told Su that amendments to the act were needed to address Chinese attempts to steal critical technologies from Taiwan, Chao said.
Chao said Intellectual Property Office Director-General Sherry Hong (洪淑敏) had told him that trade theft involving foreign powers often does not make it to litigation, as it is a difficult charge to prove, and that in past cases, prosecutors sought lesser charges to ensure the cases would proceed.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs has confirmed that this occurred with several firms, saying that it sought lesser charges against individuals in the cases to avoid lengthy lawsuits, Chao said.
Under the proposed amendments, cases involving the theft of technologies defined as critical would be tried as national security cases, he said.
“I am happy with the ideas put forward by national security officials, but I hope they do not drag their feet. Time is of the essence,” Chao added.
As the administration of US President Joe Biden appears ready to include Taiwan in a supply chain for key technologies, it is crucial for the nation to take swift action to protect its technologies from China, he said, adding that failure to do so could hamper potential trade talks with the US.
Economic Democracy Union convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) said that he would support the amendments.
The act makes a distinction between theft of trade secrets by domestic actors and foreign ones, and stipulates more severe punishments for people who aid in a theft by a foreign power, Lai said.
However, China often takes advantage of legal loopholes to control companies in Taiwan, through which it steals trade secrets, he said.
Such cases are punished more lightly, and are treated as Antragsdelikt, or “no trial without complaint,” he said, adding that the law should be amended to ensure such cases are always tried.
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