Law and Practice
Elgar Intellectual Property Law and Practice series
As noted in Chapter 8, there are a number of different legal traditions throughout the world, but the two predominant systems are the common law system and the civil law system. Today, approximately 80 countries follow the common law tradition, including the United States (discussed in Part I). For purposes of trade secret law, we begin with a discussion of the common law because, as discussed in Part I, US trade secret law sprang from the common law development of trade secret principles in England beginning in the early 1800s and, thus, it is important to understand how such law has developed since that time. Generally, whereas the United States decided to speed-up and clarify the common law development of trade secret principles by enacting the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, the trade secret laws of the countries featured herein have evolved over a long period of time as part of the common law tort of breach of confidence. Three traditional common law countries are discussed in this section: the United Kingdom, Canada and India. However, while the focus of this section is on only three countries, many other common law countries with former ties to Great Britain tend to cite to English court decisions and, thus, the trade secret laws of those countries are very similar to what is discussed below.
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