Definition of a Trade Secret

Trade secrets are important aspects of many businesses, as they need to keep their unique secrets closely guarded. These secrets are often what make products or inventions unique and interesting. It is important to understand the definition of trade secrets, and how these secrets can be protected.

Trade secrets have a broad range of definitions. The most basic definition describes a trade secret as business information that is crucial to the success of the company. Outside knowledge of this information would prohibit a company from being successful and dominant in the marketplace. There are plenty of examples of trade secrets in today’s marketplace: McDonald’s special sauce, Coca Cola’s recipe and KFC’s 7 spices are prime examples of trade secrets in play.

Trade secrets are often provided only to a small handful of individuals who work for the company. The way to keep the trade secrets safe with these individuals is to sign a contract. This confidentiality contract prevents any workers from exposing that secret.

There are ramifications and consequences for those who attempt to expose, use or sell trade secrets. Those who attempt to do so fall under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. This act prevents against the misuse of trade secrets, including theft, bribery and misrepresentation. Lawsuits can be filed against those who have taken trade secrets.

While trade secrets are protected, they are not perfect. The best way to protect any business information is to file for a patent or copyright. These different methods will give a company complete control over the use of the trade secret. With that being said, copyrights and patents may not last forever; for some companies, trade secrets that are not claimed are well hidden. These companies plan to be in business for generations, and do not want an expiring copyright to expose their secrets. For many businesses, trade secret protections are the only options that they have to protect their rights will keeping the mystery around their product intact.