Bill to partially amend the Unfair Competition Prevention Act
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has decided to submit a “Bill to Partially Amend the Unfair Competition Prevention Act” to the 177th session of the Diet.
This bill is aimed at providing for measures to protect trade secrets in the criminal trial process and measures to enhance legal systems related to devices for circumventing technological restriction measures.
1. Background and objective
(1) Ensuring protection of trade secrets in criminal procedures
A collateral resolution adopted by the Diet at the time of amendment of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act in 2009 mentioned the crime of trade secret infringement defined in this law, noting that victims tended to hesitate to file legal complaints, due to the fears of public disclosure of their trade secrets during criminal procedures.
To address this problem, the government will establish a system to appropriately protect trade secrets in criminal procedures.
(2) Enhancing legal systems related to technological restriction measures
Content providers have been suffering severe damage from the widespread availability of devices that are capable of circumventing technological restriction measures such as access controls and that give illicit access to digital content, such as pirated game software.
To address this problem, the government will enhance legal systems related to technological restriction measures.
(1) The bill provides for the following measures to appropriately protect trade secrets in criminal procedures conducted for trade secret infringement.
(i) The court may rule not to disclose trade secret information at public trials ( “protective rulings”) upon request by the victim or others.
(ii) When a protective ruling has been given, the court may rule to define expressions referring to items that may lead to identification of trade secret information..
(iii) When a protective ruling has been given, and upon satisfaction of certain conditions, the court may conduct examinations of witnesses and others, and questioning of the accused, on a day other than the trial date.
(2) The bill provides for the following measures to enhance legal systems related to devices for circumventing technological restriction measures.
(i) The scope of regulated acts, against which injunction or damages can be sought, shall be revised to additionally regulate the act of providing certain types of devices that have the function of circumventing technological restriction measures along with other functions.
(ii) Criminal penalties shall apply to the act of providing devices to circumvent technological restriction measures.
March 11, 2011
Division in Charge
Intellectual Property Policy Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau