On October 4, 2015 the trade ministers of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam announced that they concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). After more than five years of intensive negotiations, these countries representing a combined market of nearly 800 million people agreed to provide, among other things, enhanced protection for trade secrets, as well as efficient enforcement systems for commercial-scale trademark counterfeiting, copyright infringement, or related piracy.
According to the Office of the US Trade Representative, TPP Parties will in particular provide the legal means to prevent the misappropriation of trade secrets. Although the text of the TPP Agreement is still being formalized by the negotiators, WikiLeaks published a copy of the October 5 draft on October 9. The protection of innovation is a major theme throughout the agreement, but article QQ.H.8 of the published draft is the provision specifically dealing with the protection of trade secrets. The article clearly places the emphasis on establishing criminal procedures and penalties in the signatory states for trade secret theft, including by means of cyber theft, and for cam-cording.
Contrary to what has been the case in Europe with respect to the draft Trade Secrets Directive and despite fierce protest by journalists, internet freedom groups, etc. the text does not contain mandatory exceptions, for instance when trade secrets are disclosed in the public interest.
Some consider the trade secrets protection in the TPP Agreement as a major US success in its negotiations with the other TPP Parties. It remains to be seen to what extent the US will be able to duplicate this protection under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, where it faces Europe at the negotiation table.