Trade Secret related matters in Laos
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I. LEGAL BASIS
- Law No. 01/NA of December 20, 2011, on Intellectual Property (as amended) (2011)
- The Civil Procedure Law (2004)
- The Penal Procedure Law (2004)
- The Penal Law (2005)
- The Customs Law (2005)
- The Property Law (1990)
II. TRADE SECRET RELATED MATTERS IN LAOS
1. Definition of Trade Secrets
Trade secret means information which is secret in the sense that it is not known among or readily accessible to persons within the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question, such as: formula, production process, or any information, which has commercial value because it is secret.
2. Basic information on Trade Secrets in Laos
The IP Law sets out the conditions for information to be considered a trade secret. In order to be considered a trade secret, information must meet the following requirements:
1) The information must be a secret (i.e., not known among or readily accessible to persons that normally deal with the kind of information in question);
2) The information must have commercial value; and
3) The proprietor of the information must have taken reasonable steps to keep the information secret.
Information incapable of protection as trade secrets includes personal secrets, secrets of the state and state administration, and other non-business-related secret information.
Article 60 of the IP Law grants the proprietor of a trade secret the following rights:
1) To prevent the trade secret from being disclosed to, acquired by, or used by others without the proprietor’s consent, in a manner that is contrary to honest commercial practices, except:
- discovery of the information by reverse engineering, laboratory testing, analysis, or other similar means; or
- acquiring the information without an obligation of confidentiality or trust;
2) To protect the trade secret against infringement by initiating court actions and claims damages to compensate for the infringement;
3) To prevent the trade secret from being misappropriated;
4) To disclose, withdraw or utilise, or transfer the trade secret to other persons; and
5) To control any person who is in lawful control of the trade secret from employment or a contract or other agreement.
Such obligation of confidentiality shall remain in effect so long as the information remains secret, even where employment, a contract, or another agreement terminates sooner.
No registration is required for trade secrets to enjoy protection.
Term of Protection of Trade Secrets
Trade secrets are protected for an unlimited period or until their secrecy is lost.
You can enforce protection of your trade secrets through court actions where you, as the proprietor, may claim damages for an infringement. Trade secrets may also be protected through confidentiality clauses being incorporated into employment contracts, or through a separate contract on the confidentiality of trade secrets or other agreements.
3. Requirements of Trade Secrets
In order to be considered as a trade secret, information shall meet all the following requirements:
- shall be secret in the sense that it is not known among or readily accessible to persons within the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question, such as: formula, production process, or any information;
- shall have commercial value;
- shall have been subject to reasonable steps under the circumstances by the person lawfully in control of the information, to keep it secret.
4. Rights of Proprietor of Trade Secret
The proprietor of a trade secret has the following rights:
1. to prevent trade secret information lawfully in his control from being disclosed to, acquired by, or used by others without their consent in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices, except:
1.1. discovery of the information by reverse engineering, laboratory testing or analysis, or similar means;
1.2. acquiring the information without an obligation of confidentiality or trust.
2. to protect their rights under the law and regulations against infringements by others such as to institute court action, [and] right to compensation from damages caused by others;
3. to prevent individual, legal entity or organization from misappropriating the trade secret;
4. to disclose, withdraw or utilize trade secret or transfer to other person for disclosure, withdrawal or utilization of trade secret, by defining contents and requirements of keeping secret;
5. to control any person who is lawfully in control of the trade secret from employment or a contract or other agreement, where such obligation of confidentiality shall remain in effect so long as the information remains secret even where the employment, contract or other agreement terminates sooner.