Trade Secrets Examples: EverythingYou Need To Know
Trade secrets examples include the types of confidential information that is protected as a trade secret by intellectual property (IP) law.3 min read
Trade secrets examples include the types of confidential information that is protected as a trade secret by intellectual property (IP) law. A trade secret must be unknown to the public and provide financial value for the business. Methods, techniques, formulas, processes, and information can all be protected as trade secrets.
Protection for Trade Secrets
The Uniform Trade Secrets Act indicates that a trade secret provides economic value because it is not publicly known. For this reason, trade secrets are not registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
For information to qualify as a trade secret, the owner of the information must attempt to keep it confidential. This is in contrast to patents and trademarks, forms of protected IP that are obvious to the public. Trade secrets have significant value, often comprising a large portion of the business's assets.
Many businesses rely on trade secrets for their operations. If this describes your business, an intellectual property attorney can help explain your rights when it comes to protecting trade secrets. He or she can also advocate on your behalf if you believe your IP is being infringed upon.
Although trade secrets can sometimes be patented, to do so means that they are no longer secret since patent applications require public disclosure about the invention.
The means for protecting a trade secret include non-disclosure agreements, contracts, non-compete forms, and other legal agreements. They require those with access to the information to keep it secret, particularly from competitors. If trade secret protection is meant to expire, this must be explicitly stated in the agreement. If the trade secret becomes public, it can no longer be protected legally.
Examples of Intellectual Property
Some types of information that may qualify for trade secret protection include:
- Computer programs and scripts.
- Formulas for cleaning and beauty products.
- Manufacturing methods.
- Food recipes.
- Methods for processing raw materials.
- New plant hybrids.
- Customer lists.
- Business plans.
- Industry forecasts.
- Marketing plans and analyses.
- Research and development data.
- Information about business relationships.
- Pricing and profit margin information.
- Product information.
- Business manuals.
Examples include the formula for WD-40 and the recipe for Pepsi. Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe is a trade secret; although many intrepid bakers have tried to reverse engineer the cookie, none have come close to replicating its exact taste and texture.
Another trade secret is the algorithm the New York Times uses to create its incredibly influential best-seller list. Although they acknowledge that it involves gathering sales data from a range of independent and chain bookstores and wholesalers, the exact methodology is protected to prevent publishers from manipulating the data to land their books on the list.