Taiwan Introduces Confidentiality Protective Order during Criminal Investigation

February 18, 2020

To strengthen the protection of trade secrets during criminal investigations and to make the party holding the trade secret to come forward more easily and be less feared of a further leak during an investigation, Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan on December 31, 2019 passed the proposed amendment to the Trade Secrets Act, which became promulgated on January 15, 2020. The new amendment allows for a Confidentiality Protective Order (“CPO”) to be issued by a prosecutor during an investigation in connection with cases involving trade secrets when the prosecutor considers it necessary.  A CPO may be issued to any person that may come into contact with information subject to the investigation, including a crime suspect, the accused, the aggrieved party, the complainant, the agent acting for the complainant, the agent acting for the accused, an appraiser, a witness and other related persons.  Any person subject to a CPO shall not make use of the information other than for the purpose of the investigation, nor shall he or she make disclosure to any person who is outside the CPO.  Violation of the CPO may be punished by imprisonment of not more than 3 years, custody and/or a fine of not more than 1 million NT dollars. In the event of a violation of the CPO in China, Hong Kong or Macau, the foregoing punishment shall be applicable even if such locations do not consider the same to be a punishable offense.  A foreign person whose country has not entered into an international treaty with Taiwan or does not have an agreement with Taiwan for the mutual protection of trade secrets, Taiwan may elect not to offer protection to the trade secrets of such foreign person.