Updating the Law of Trade Secrets in Saudi Arabia

Author:Wahj Wazzan
Pages:43-73
SUMMARY

Saudi Arabia is an Arab sovereign state which has been a member of WTO since 2005. Islam is the official religion and all laws must be compatible with the religion of Islam to enforce a rule in the country. Although Islam has never addressed intellectual property rights nor judicial remedies in the event of misappropriation, Islam is utterly reconcilable with providing protection regarding IP... (see full summary)

 
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e Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law
ISSN: 2338-7602; E-ISSN: 2338-770X
http://www.ijil.org
© 2018 e Institute for Migrant Rights Press
I am grateful for comments and suggestions from Professor, Edward Lee and Profes-
sor, Andrew V. Moshirnia and for the positive inuence in both my academic and
professional career. Also, I would like to seize this opportunity to pay tribute to Pro-
fessor, Mickie A. Piatt, who provided me tutelage, advice, and for utmost importance
being supportive throughout my studies as well as my thesis. Special thanks go to my
parents, siblings, and friends for believing in me.
updating thE law of tradE sECrEts
in saudi araBia
Wahj Wazzan
Counselor at Law, Reda J. Abdulrazak Law Firm
E-mail: wwazzan@kentlaw.iit.edu
Saudi Arabia is an Arab sovereign state which has been a member of WTO
since 2005. Islam is the ocial religion and all laws must be compatible with
the religion of Islam to enforce a rule in the country. Although Islam has never
addressed intellectual property rights nor judicial remedies in the event of mis-
appropriation, Islam is utterly reconcilable with providing protection regarding
IP rights; specically, trade secrets. Notwithstanding the new vision to become
a developed country and lessen its dependency on oil, Saudi Arabia lacks an
eective protection concerning trade secrets despite the considerable reliance by
businesses on the law of trade secrets due to the fact that companies are facing
a daily threat of losing the competitive edge. Some of the deciencies in Saudi
Arabia are unclear denition of trade secrets, the absence of cause of action,
and inequitable remedies. For that reason, this article suggests ameliorating and
amending the law of trade secrets in Saudi Arabia to provide secret owners with
an advanced, ecient legal mechanism of safeguarding trade secrets.
Keywords: Law Reform, Competition Law, Private Law, Comparative Law, Islamic
La w.
V Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law 43-73 (January 2018)
44
Wazzan
I. INTRODUCTION
“To keep a secret, tell it to everyone you know,
but pretend you are kidding.
Limony Snicket
In daily life, everyone has at least one secret and it is usually shared
with only a few close people, and those who are chosen to know the se-
cret are not allowed to reveal. Similarly, for an entrepreneur, secrets are
the most classied information that once it is known whether to public
or competitors, it may cause a loss of money and a great devastation to
business.1 Supposedly, an owner of a restaurant makes uncommonly
delectable dish which cannot be found elsewhere, and it gains public
popularity. Later an employee for the restaurant decides to join another
restaurant and reveals all the recipes to the new restaurant. is wrong-
ful act would, without a question, result in dramatic changes to both
owners. Especially, in Saudi Arabia where secret owners must be eager
to be aware of how to protect their commercial information or how to
recover in the event misappropriating. ey might also be concerned
about the designed, short time-frame that prevents employees from re-
vealing secrets to competitors as well as losing their rights to protect
their own trade secrets. Briey, like to all of life’s secrets, trade secrets
are no less value yet in fact are the cornerstone for any businesses, and
secret owners are impatient to take several steps in advance to insure
these secrets will be protected as long as possible.2
Religion plays a major role in legitimizing and enforcing laws in
Saudi Arabia owing to the fact that the country is governed according to
Islamic laws.3 As anyone might expect, safeguarding and not disclosing
any secrets are one of the duties and commitments of all Muslims in
1. Trade Secret, W (Oct. 29, 2016, 03:30 PM), https://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/Trade_secret.
2. Id.
3. Abduallah F.Ansary, A Brief Overview of the Saudi Arabian Legal System,
G L  J (2008), http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Sau-
di_Arabia.html.

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