In a high-profile case from Japan, a former Executive VP of Aichi Steel was found not guilty (at both trial and appeal) of leaking Aichi’s magnetic sensor trade secrets to one of Aichi’s business partners during a presentation.
The EVP was accused of violating Japan’s Unfair Competition Prevention Act. The Act requires that a trade secret must be controlled as a secret, be useful to the business, and not publicly known. Violating the Act is a criminal offense – he was arrested by police!
At both trial and appeal, the court found that the alleged trade secret was too abstract and vague, encompassing broad common technical knowledge instead of being well defined.
The former EVP is now suing Aichi Steel for 12 billion yen (about 91 million USD)!
This case is similar to many in US and Europe, where courts require a trade secret to be cleanly and clearly defined instead of being so vague as to encompass public knowledge.