trade secrets

Trade Secrets can include any information that has commercial value that is kept secret by a business. The information must not otherwise be available to competitors. Trade Secrets can include unpatented inventions, software, patterns, designs, production devices, formulas, recipes, techniques, processes, customer lists, marketing information, and other business information. Among other things, Trade Secrecy depends on reasonable, diligent measures to guard the secrecy of the information.

Trade secrets are information that is kept secret and that is used in business, often in the context of manufacturing. Typical trade secrets include formulas, techniques, or processes that give the possessor some kind of economic advantage in their application. A trade secret can be retained indefinitely, although dissemination of the information must be strictly limited.
If someone obtains valid trade secret information illegally, courts may award damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees. However, validity of the trade secret depends upon steps taken to maintain the secrecy of the subject matter, and trade secret protection does not prevent independent discovery.
Having a non-disclosure agreement in place can help prevent disclosure of trade secret and other information, and can allow an entity to retain control over access to the information when disclosure is required for development or manufacturing purposes. Minimally, every employee of an organization, every supplier that requires access to the information, and every business partner should be required to sign a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement.
Trade secrets may also be licensed, but care must be taken to ensure that the licensee agrees to keep the information confidential. Again, compensation may be by one time or recurring royalty.