Trade Secret

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Trade secrets

Are not currently defined under any specific rule of evidence under Philippine law. And yet time and again, their protection is sought and their enforcement pursued before our courts. Trade secrets are, after all, recognized as confidential under many laws, which provide penalties for the breach of confidentiality.

Protection of trade secrets

The Revised Penal Code, for one, penalizes the revelation of industrial or trade secrets of an employer by an employee. Also, the Securities Regulation Code prohibits the Securities and Exchange Commission from requiring the revelation of trade secrets or processes in any application, report or documentation filed before it. In corporate rehabilitation proceedings, the Rules of Procedure on Corporate Rehabilitation allow the court to issue an order to protect trade secrets or other confidential research or information of debtors. The National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 likewise prohibits and punishes any employee of the Bureau of Internal Revenue who shall divulge any confidential information or trade secrets concerning the business income or inheritance of any taxpayer. The Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990, in turn, limits the right of the public to information through the access of records, reports or information on chemical substance and mixtures if those are confidential and would ultimately result in divulgence of trade secrets. From all the above, one thing is clear—trade secrets are considered confidential information. But there is a difference between confidential information and privileged information. In at least one case, Banco Filipino vs Monetary Board (142 SCRA 523 [1986]), the Supreme Court ruled that the mere fact that a law declares information confidential does not mean that it is privileged in nature. In layman’s terms, this means that, when a matter is considered privileged, not even a court of law can require it to be presented in evidence. Privileged matters are given special treatment—a cloke of secrecy—in the interest of a higher policy. A good example is communication between husband and wife. The Rules of Court explicitly protect the communication from being presented in evidence even if it is necessary to decide a pending case in the higher interest of protecting the sanctity of the marriage. TRADEMARK, SERVICEMARKS & TRADE NAME

LEGAL DEFINITION OF TRADEMARK: (SECTION 121.1)
"Mark" means any visible sign capable of distinguishing the goods (trademark) or services (service mark) of an enterprise and shall include a stamped or marked container of goods. LEGAL DEFINITION OF TRADE NAME: (SETION 121.3)

"Trade name" means the name or designation identifying or distinguishing an enterprise. TRADEMARK RIGHTS THROUGH REGISTRATION & USE
The rights in a mark shall be acquired through registration made validly in accordance with the provisions of this law. (SECTION 122) The applicant or the registrant shall file a declaration of actual use of the mark with evidence to that effect, as prescribed by the Regulations within three (3) years from the filing date of the application. Otherwise, the application shall be refused or the mark shall be removed from the Register by the Director. (Section 124.2) NON-USE OF MARK, WHEN EXCUSED (Section 152)

Non-use of a Mark When Excused. — 152.1. Non-use of a mark may be excused if caused by circumstances arising independently of the will of the trademark owner. Lack of funds shall not excuse non-use of a mark. 152.2. The use of the mark in a form different from the form in which it is registered, which does not alter its distinctive character, shall not be ground for cancellation or removal of the mark and shall not diminish the protection granted to the mark. 152.3. The use of a mark in connection with one or more of the goods or services belonging to the class in respect of which the mark is registered shall prevent its cancellation or removal in respect of all...
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