WHAT IS A TRADE SECRET ?
"Trade secret" refers to information, such as a formula, pattern, compilation, programme device, method, technique, or process, that:
1. derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being widely known to, and not readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and
2. is the subject of retaliatory efforts. In its most basic form, a trade secret is knowledge that a company wants to keep hidden because keeping it private benefits the company or releasing it would harm the company and benefit its competitors.
Why Trade Secret Protection Is Important?
Trade secrets are often overlooked, despite the fact that they may provide the greatest single contribution to intangible assets. Today, a company's intangible assets are worth more than its tangible ones.
The market's estimate of the worth of a company's intangible assets, such as goodwill, branding, patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, is reflected in this difference in value.
Despite the fact that trade secrets may provide the greatest single contribution to intangible assets, they are the overlooked sister among them.
The marketing communications and advertising departments of the organisation are in charge of branding. The legal department is in charge of the company's intellectual property, which includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.
Failure to identify trade secrets is a common stumbling block in proving a trade secret in court. It is impossible to expect someone to keep something as a trade secret if the fact that it is deemed a trade secret has never been stated.
It is best to identify trade secrets in a written notice signed by individuals who are required to preserve the secret, such as a non-disclosure agreement, so that it can be established in court later.
What information will qualify as a trade secret?
Not every piece of information can be kept under wraps as a trade secret.
Even if all of the necessary precautions are followed, certain material will just not qualify as a trade secret.
Most of the time, this is done with information that is already in the public domain (available to the public)
A customer list that includes all of the bottling companies in a certain area isn't considered a trade secret.
That information can be found in phone books or a variety of other places.
A customer list of all the bottling firms, with the names and birthdays of the purchasing agents, as well as the inventory selection most desired by that agency, could, however, be a trade secret.
Why Trade Secret Protection ?
Trade secrets differ from other types of intellectual property in that their protection necessitates their establishment and upkeep.
Trade secrets are more akin to goodwill and branding in this regard.
Rather of a single application and grant by a government agency, trade secrets require ongoing effort in order to facilitate later defence via lawsuits against infringers.
It's no surprise, however, that even in the best of firms, trade secret management is frequently misunderstood and badly executed.
Trade secret protection, on the other hand, has a considerably larger scope than patents, trademarks, or copyright protection.
Patents require that the invention be new, useful, and non-obvious, that it be publicly disclosed, and that it adhere to a patentable subject matter definition. Furthermore, exclusive rights are limited to 20 years from the date of application.
Trade secrets are indestructible. They don't have to follow any specific definition of patentable subject matter. They don't have to be unique or unusual; they just have to be useful. They safeguard both the substance and the expression.
The only requirement is that trade secrets remain discreet, and that individuals who are informed sign nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) and other legal documents pledging strict confidentiality. When it comes to keeping trade secrets safe, the standard reaction is to adopt stronger and more sophisticated methods of protection.
Passwords and dongles, secure facilities, security guards and name badges, and internet firewalls are all used to secure trade secrets. Companies spend billions of dollars on such tactics each year.
Some famous Examples of trade secrets are:
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