Law and Practice
As previously discussed in Chapter 8, most countries of the world, approximately 150, follow the civil law tradition whereby law is made primarily through the adoption and frequent re-evaluation and amendment of written codes. Thus, the primary source of law in civil law countries is the written code, with judicial decisions having little or no precedential value. In this chapter the legal traditions and trade secret laws of four civil law countries are discussed: Brazil, China, Japan and Mexico. China and Japan were selected because of their positions as significant centres of trade and as two of the top three economies in the world. Brazil is featured as one of the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China and India) countries due to its position as a country with an expanding economic base and because of the importance of featuring a country from the southern hemisphere. Mexico is included because of its trade relationship with the United States and its membership in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Although members of the WTO since its inception, as developing countries, Brazil and Mexico were not required to be in full compliance with the TRIPS Agreement until 1 January 2000. China joined theWTO in December of 2001. In light of the possible approval of the proposed EU Trade Secret Directive (see Appendices 1 and 2), it was decided not to discuss other large civil law countries within the European Union (such as Germany, France, Spain and Sweden) since their existing laws may be amended to comply with the Directive.
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