Trade Secrets

Lia Kopin-Green
November 9, 2022

What is a Trade Secret?

Trade secrets are defined as any methods, processes or any other data that is not generally known outside of a company or business. In the United States, trade secret protection does not require registration and is not limited in time. Therefore, in contrast to patents, protection of trade secrets may continue indefinitely as long as the information remains secret.

In order to qualify as a trade secret, the information must not be known to the public and the company must take reasonable measures to conceal the information. In addition, the information must have some sort of economic value or benefit to the company.

Key Takeaways

  • A trade secret is any method, process, or data that is not generally known outside of a company or business.
  • Protection of trade secrets remains for as long as the information remains secret.
  • Trade secrets generally have an economic value or benefit to the company and provide a competitive advantage.

More on Trade Secrets

Arguably, almost every business or company is the owner of some sort of trade secret. There are many types of trade secrets, such as formulas, practices, processes, recipes, algorithms, and lists of suppliers or clients. This information may be considered sensitive since its disclosure could lead to extensive harm to the business. For example, a fast food chain may have a special recipe for their hamburgers. If the recipe were to be known to the public, other fast food restaurants would be able to duplicate the recipe and choose to sell the burgers for a lower price. This could cause significant damage to the fast food chain’s business and profits.

Protecting Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are protected by both state regulations and federal law, specifically the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. According to this law, trade secrets may be "tangible or intangible, and whether or how stored, compiled, or memorialized physically, electronically, graphically, photographically, or in writing."

Moreover, currently, 47 states in the U.S. have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (USTA). The USTA defines trade secrets and deals with claims and misappropriation of trade secrets.

Unlike other forms of intellectual property in the U.S., trade secrets do not need to be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Instead, trade secrets are protected by taking a number of internal precautions to prevent the public disclosure of the information. Remember: as long as the information remains confidential, it maintains its status as a trade secret. It is for this reason that Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s) are such an important practice in intellectual property law.

Bottom Line

Your company may be home to valuable information that, if made public, could negatively impact your business. Protecting this information is key in maintaining your rights to various forms of intellectual property, such as certain formulas, practices, processes or patterns.

Not sure where to start when it comes to safeguarding your business’s trade secrets? We’re here to help. Contact an experienced intellectual property attorney today at Attorney At Law.

Featured Intellectual Property Lawyers

Reid and Riege, P.C.

Google rating
34 years in practice
Bankruptcy, Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Trust & Estate
View Profile

Seth H. Salinger, Attorney At Law

Google rating
33 years in practice
Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Personal Injury
View Profile

The Law Office of Amy Ghosh, APC

Google rating
24 years in practice
Bankruptcy, Business Law, Divorce & Family Law, Immigration Appeals, Immigration Law
View Profile

Related Posts

Notice of Allowance
Lia Kopin-GreenSeptember 22, 2022
Actual Filing Date
Lia Kopin-GreenAugust 4, 2022
Patent Marking
Lia Kopin-GreenOctober 18, 2022
Lia Kopin-GreenSeptember 17, 2022
Attorney At Law is changing how clients connect with lawyers. By providing an innovative platform to lawyers who want to expand their practice’s reach, AAL is bringing law practices into the future.
6142 Innovation Way
Carlsbad, California 92009
Some of the content of this website may be considered attorney advertising under the rules of certain jurisdictions. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
crossmenuchevron-upchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram