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Protection of Trade Secrets vis-à-vis Advancement of Privacy Laws and Artificial Intelligence

The TRIPS Agreement enjoys the status of being the first international agreement to explicitly protect trade secrets as a form of Intellectual Property.  The backbone of any business most likely depends on its trade secrets. Trade secrets may be categorized as a set of confidential information that provides an enterprise a competitive edge over others in similar business. In order to confer this status of ‘trade secret,’ a certain level of privacy needs to be maintained. If the same is not attended to, a threat is likely to be caused to privacy of trade secrets by the advancement of Artificial Intelligence. The requirement of protection of trade secret is simply with an intention of guarding the profitableness of business conceived by the trader while maintaining its secrecy.

The capabilities of Artificial Intelligence, which have dramatically expanded in the last one decade, may threaten data protection that may result into the loss of not only the trade so concerned but even the economy of the country. In absence of any effective laws controlling Artificial Intelligence, the protection of trade secrets remains uncertain.

The protection of trade secrets may be ensured at fullest if the reasonable restrictions on privacy laws are not made applicable on the trade secret regime. Further, the conflict between privacy law and advancement of artificial intelligence can be addressed only by enactment of holistic laws and policies which may cover both the aspects of right to privacy and advancement of technology that may aid artificial intelligence to meet with the human needs. Although, India lacks a specific legislation protecting the trade secrets, the concept is being jurisprudentially developing through different decisions of various courts.

The author  asserts pertinence to mention that any development needs better understanding of the connected issues and such issues remain unsettled until such law is not passed and may be combated only by strengthening the laws and policies concerned with such subjects in India. This is required not only in case of Trade Secrets which are governed by the provisions of contract laws of the country but even the privacy laws and policies on Artificial Intelligence.

The mechanism that may best balance the emerging need of development of artificial intelligence and protection of trade secrets be achieved through stringently systematic privacy laws. Appropriate privacy laws can definitely prevent encroachment of one over the others’ property.

The text can be accessed at:

The article seeks to summarise a paper on Protection of Trade Secrets vis-à-vis Advancement of Privacy Laws and Artificial Intelligence.

Written By Shrut Brahmbhatt [Ph.D. Student, S.P. University, Anand & Assistant Professor of Law, Unitedworld School of Law, Karnavati University, Gandhinagar]

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