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 ), 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