Trade Secrets / Confidential Information
Trade Secrets (also known as Confidential Information) is an important form of IP and in many cases can be one of the most important assets on a Company balance sheet. It can be defined as information which is not in the public domain, and which has commercial value. Trade secrets only have commercial value if they are kept secret; once the information is disclosed publicly, it loses all value. A good example of a Trade Secret is the formulation of Coco-Cola, which was kept secret for nearly 80 years until analytical technology caught up and allowed third parties determine the ingredients for the drink. Indeed, it is interesting to note that if Coco-Cola had patented their drink formulation, their rights would only have lasted for 20 years, as opposed to the 80 years exclusivity they obtained by keeping the formulation as a Trade Secret.
We regularly work with clients to help them decide on the best form of IP protection for the technology. If the Trade Secret route is chosen, we help clients manage their portfolio of Trade Secrets through audits of confidential information, entrance and exit staff interviews, access to Trade Secrets, and employee contracts.