1. Information that meets the following conditions is considered as a trade secret

Such information is not common knowledge and is applicable in business; when being used, the holder of such information can have an advantage over those who do not hold or do not use such information;

The said information is secured by the owner by necessary measures so that such information is not disclosed and not easily accessible.

However, it should also be noted that the following confidential information is not protected as trade secrets, including:

(i) Identity Secrets;

(ii) Secrets of state management;

(iii) Secrets of national defense and security; and

(iv) Other confidential information not related to business.

2. Prohibited acts of infringement of trade secrets in the field of competition

Access and collect trade secrets by resisting the security measures of the rightful owner.

Disclosing and using trade secrets without the permission of its owner.

3. Acts of infringing upon business secrets in the labor field

  • Acts of disclosing business secrets, technology secrets, infringing upon the intellectual property rights of the employer;
  • Acts of causing serious damage or threatening to cause particularly serious damage to the property and interests of the employer.

When an employee discloses a trade secret, the employer whose disclosed secret may take disciplinary action and dismiss the employee.

According to the provisions of Decree 75/2019/ND-CP on sanctioning of administrative violations in the field of competition, violators who commit one of the above-mentioned acts of infringing business secrets will be fined from 200,000,000 VND to 300,000,000 VND if the violating party is an organization. For individual violators, the maximum fine is one-half of the above-mentioned fine, which means that employees who disclose trade secrets without permission will be fined from 100,000,000 VND to 150,000,000 VND.

In addition to being fined, violators may also have their exhibits and vehicles used to commit violations confiscated, including the confiscation of all profits derived from the commission of the violation.

Companies need to take measures to protect their trade secrets such as preventing employees from using cameras, phones, external storage devices when they have access to confidential information; Rooms storing confidential information should also verify the employee’s card when entering and leaving this room; Companies need to manage the email in and out of employees to avoid information leakage, adversely affecting the company.

When recruiting, companies also need to carefully check the information of employees to prevent that person from being a spy of a competitor.

The article is based on laws applicable at the time noted as above and may no longer be appropriate at the time the reader approaches this article as the applicable laws and the specific cases that the reader may wish to apply may have changed. Therefore, the article is for referencing only.


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