Korea to vote on Industrial SpyingA new korean espionage bill may be ready to clear the National Assembly. A new bill is needed (this will come to no shock to some of you) because trade secret theft in Korea was not a big issue until now. Actually the main reason is because Korean Law has very weak provisions for valuing intangible items. So if an employee steals a CD with a billion dollar production secret, technically speaking all he has stolen is a 25 cent CD (Yes, I am simplifying this somewhat to make my point).
It is worth noting that the new bill still reflects a historic dichotomy:
According to the bill, those who transfer or sell intellectual properties of private and public organizations overseas will be sentenced to up to seven years in prison, and/or up to 700 million won in fines. For selling intellectual property inside Korea, the punishment will be up to five years in prison, and/or a 500 million won fine. Any financial benefits resulting from the selling of the knowledge will be confiscated.
Lets read this another way, "If your Korean and steal another Korean's secrets, its no big deal."
Now what I really do wonder is how this dichotomy stands up when the secret is stolen from a Korean firm which happens to be owned by a foreign co. I want to read that proposed law if I have chance.