TSMC shared trade secret management and experience with strategic supply chain partners.
TSMC discussed the goal of its Trade Secret Management Sharing Project for Strategic Supply Chain Partners.
TSMC initiated Green Trade Secret Award in 2021 to deepen and enhance sustainability.

TSMC Implements Trade Secret Management to Fulfill its Vision of Sustainable Business

New "Green Trade Secret Award" and "Supply Chain Trade Secret Management Sharing" Projects to Drive Sustainable Innovation Momentum
Fortune F.Y. Shieh

Protecting company innovations and competitive advantages through trade secrets are increasingly important developments, now trending worldwide. Every year, TSMC awards the coveted "Golden Trade Secret Award" to distinguished registered trade secret cases, selected after rigorous review. As of 2020, a total of 1,616 awards were awarded to 4,417 TSMC inventors. In order to implement both internal and external intellectual property protection strategies, TSMC has launched the "Green Trade Secret Award" in 2021 to encourage and motivate employees to innovate more in the paths of environmental protection, social responsibility, and corporate governance (ESG) through recognition and rewards. In addition, TSMC has concurrently initiated the "Supply Chain Trade Secret Management Sharing" project, a pro bono service project that aims to promote the development of the supply chain by sharing practical experiences to build more complete intellectual property management capabilities.

TSMC’s Vision of Trade Secret Management Innovation

TSMC’s Vision of Trade Secret Management Innovation

First Green Trade Secret Award to Recognize Employees for Advancing Environmental Technology

Green manufacturing is the cornerstone of sustainable operations at TSMC. The establishment of the first Green Trade Secret Award is an initiative of TSMC to continuously fulfil its commitment to environmental protection and energy conservation as part of its corporate responsibility. TSMC introduces the Green Trade Secret Award to encourage and inspire more innovation and registration of trade secrets related to energy, water, and waste management, climate change, and air pollution control and prevention. In the future, the award will continue to have a specific category for such innovations to build a solid foundation and strategy for trade secrets related to environmental protection, further deepening and broadening TSMC’s culture of sustainable for its corporate green operations.

Green Trade Secret Award

Green Trade Secret Award

The Trade Secret Management System Strengthens the Soft Power of a Sustainable Supply Chain

With the mission of promoting respect for intellectual property, safeguarding trade secrets, maintaining industrial ethics, and upholding the competitive order, TSMC launched the pro bono service project, "Supply Chain Trade Secret Management Sharing," in 2021. The first stage of the project included selection of strategic supply chain partners with a common vision as TSMC for intellectual property protection, to share international industrial intellectual property management trends, and the value of trade secret management. Since TSMC’s promotion of trade secret registration in 2013, it has accumulated and managed more than 140,000 registrations. This has enabled TSMC to further assist suppliers in improving the effectiveness of trade secret management and encourage them to also support a culture of "sustainable operation and innovation," thereby improving technical quality and capabilities.

Five Topics of the “Supply Chain Trade Secret Management Sharing” Public Service Project

Topic Content
Defining Management Strategies Analyze innovation of trade secret protection, unique competitive advantages, and industry trends to define company strategy for the protection of trade secrets, patents, and other intellectual property
Implementing Intelligent Automation of Registration Systems TSMC’s trade secret registration system has been using the “intelligent automation" functions to remind inventors to register their cases in a timely manner and enhance the quality of the registrations since 2013.
Adopting Effective Protective Measures Enforce appropriate confidentiality measures and consider necessary evaluation factors to meet legal requirements and prevent leaks
Preventing Unauthorized Employee Disclosure of Trade Secrets New Employees
  • Preventing new employees from bringing confidential information or trade secrets from their prior employers to the Company after starting in their new roles, so as to avoid trade secret and technical pollution
  • Presently, many companies have been fined and penalized in criminal judgments by the court, so the Company should pay special attention to take effective measures.
Current Employees
  • Preempting collusion with third parties to misappropriate company trade secrets
Former Employees
  • Using non-competition and confidentiality agreements to prevent employees from joining competing companies or divulging company trade secrets after leaving the company
  • Enforcing appropriate actions for employees who breach their contract obligations to ensure non-competition and confidentiality
Managing Investigation and Litigation
  • Discuss key points to be aware of and avoid when investigating suspicious cases
  • Emphasize matters to pay attention to when filing a complaint to the judicial authority, and investigating a case under trial
  • Improve the efficiency of case investigation, and preserving human, material, financial, and time resources required to respond to litigation

In August 2021, TSMC selected six local suppliers to participate in this project and to share with them the concepts and management experience of trade secret protection. Based on the suppliers’ feedback and suggestions, the scope of the project and the number of participating suppliers will continue to expand so that trade secret management will become key to the competitiveness of the supply chain.