Demystifying China’s trade secrets law in action: a statistical analysis
Yang Chen Assistant Professor, School of Law, City University of Hong Kong

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This article attempts to conduct a detailed empirical study on trade secrets litigation in China. In a nutshell, using 33 coding criteria, this article studied 2810 judicial documents published between 2013 and 2021 related to trade secrets litigation. Of the 2810 documents, 745 concerned substantive trade secret issues, with 885 trade secret claims addressed by Chinese courts. The article mainly aims to fill two research gaps in the current literature. First, it is unclear whether, during the past two decades, China indeed provided inadequate trade secrets protection in practice because of its ‘defective’ statutes, as alleged by the US government. Empirical evidence is needed to test whether the previous US criticisms conformed with the working situation of China’s trade secrets litigation. Second, the enforcement level of trade secrets law in books in China remains a myth. The argument that China has adopted a strict trade secret law in books similar to the US has little practical value if China did not enforce the trade secrets law in practice. Empirical evidence is required to demystify the enforcement situation of trade secrets law. This article, thus, fills these two gaps by presenting empirical findings on trade secrets litigation from 2013 to 2021 in China.

Contributor Notes

SJD, 2023, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School; LLM (with distinction), 2020, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School; LLM, 2019, London School of Economics and Political Science; LLB, 2018, China University of Political Science and Law. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my doctoral supervisor Professor Gideon Parchomovsky and my dissertation committee member Professor Andrea (Yanbai) Wang for their comments on this article.

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