Does your business thrive and/or operate optimally against your competitors due to a secret formula, technique, or device that no one else has? Then your business likely uses what is called a trade secret. You do not need to file a trade secret with any government organization to have one or use it.
All your business needs to have a trade secret is commercially valuable information that is only valuable because of its confidential nature. It can only be considered confidential if it is known by a few people in your company. If you’re worried about your business’s trade secret(s) being released, contact the trade secret IP attorneys at Emerson Thomson Bennett for more information on how you can protect your IP.
What Can Trade Secrets Protect?
If you’re unsure of whether or not your business’s confidential information counts as a trade secret, we can explain. A trade secret can only be three types of information.
- Formula: Any list of ingredients or mathematical equation expressed through symbols that produces a substance or allows for a process to occur.
- Technique: A tactic or way of completing a task.
- Device: A piece of technology that allows for the creation of something else or functions to complete a task.
These three types of information generally include all things that a business could want to keep as a trade secret. The only thing that cannot be trade secrets are processes that are known by a wide large number of people. This does not mean the majority, but a large number.
For example, if a manufacturing process is used by every business in an industry, it is not a trade secret, even though the majority of people alive don’t understand how it works.
How Long Do Trade Secrets Last?
Trade secrets will last as long as the business can keep its formula, technique, or device a secret. They do not expire or have a term limit like other forms of intellectual property protection. This means you have legal rights to a trade secret for as long as you can protect it.
This does mean that if someone releases your trade secret and you are unable to contain its spread, it’s no longer a trade secret. You do have options to keep this from happening and legal responses to those who try to release your trade secret successfully and unsuccessfully.