IP&L Luncheon: The Value of Trade Secrets

Many companies would benefit by treating their confidential information more often as trade secrets rather than only or primarily seeking patent protection. That was the main theme of the presentation “The Orphaned Asset: Trade Secrets as a Much Neglected Corporate Source,” held March 3 at the Grand Hyatt Taipei under the sponsorship of AmCham Taipei’s Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee. The speaker was a leading authority on trade secrets: Dr. Richard L. Thurston, head of the Taipei office of the law firm Duane Morris LLP and former senior vice president and general counsel of TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.).


IP&L committee co-chair, Jeffrey Harris, Managing Director, Orient Commercial Enquiries (left), speaker Richard L. Thurston, Ph.D. (middle), and IP&L committee co-chair, Peter J. Dernbach Partner, Winkler Partners (right)

The advantages of a well-managed trade-secret program within a company’s IP portfolio include:

  • Saving the considerable expense involved in patent filing and maintenance.
  • Enjoying coverage in perpetuity, whereas patents are for a limited period.
  • Gaining flexibility, as the content of trade secrets can be continuously updated or new trade secrets added.

The strengthening of Taiwan’s Trade Secrets Law in recent years has made this option a realistic choice. But companies must do their part by signing non-compete and non-disclosure agreements with key employees and implementing effective internal controls to ensure that trade secrets are well protected.

To view or register for upcoming AmCham events, click here.

A reminder of Taiwan’s local laws related to controlled substances

Over the last several months, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) has seen an increase in arrests related to possession of marijuana. The U.S. citizen community in Taiwan should be aware that penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs (including marijuana) in Taiwan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Taiwan also has the death penalty for certain drug offenses. Law enforcement in Taiwan treats all drug violations very seriously.

The AIT would like to remind all U.S. citizens in Taiwan of the guidance contained in the Department of State’s travel.state.gov website on Taiwan’s local laws, particularly as these laws relate to controlled substances.

Please visit U.S. Department of State’s website at:

Learn about the dangers of drug use abroad, please visit:

For information on arrest or detention of a U.S. citizen abroad: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies/arrest.html