What Is a Trade Secret and How Is It Created?

Anyone going into business needs to have a product or service others want in order to be successful. For some people starting a New York business, they have certain critical proprietary information that isn’t quite eligible for protection by patents, trademarks, or copyrights, but is still necessary to their success and would be extremely harmful if it was publicly available. Coca-Cola, for example, has protected the exact recipe for their signature drink for years through another avenue – trade secrets. Here’s what you need to know and how to create a trade secret in New York.

Trade Secret Defined

A trade secret is information that remains secret to others through reasonable means to protect its secrecy and creates actual or potential economic value for its owner. That secret can be nearly any type of information kept secret by its owner which is neither readily known nor easily gotten by others, including:

  • Formulas
  • Patterns
  • Techniques
  • Programs
  • Processes
  • Plans

To keep the information a trade secret it must remain secret, so disclosure by the owner to others is generally not permitted. In fact, the owner of a trade secret must take measures to protect it – whether it is locking the information in a vault or safe deposit box, using electronic security, protecting it on a computer through passwords and other cybersecurity, or other means. The information must usually also generate either an actual or potential economic value for the secret’s owner; today, that most often means it has monetary value of some kind.

Creating a Trade Secret

Creating a trade secret has the simplest process of all types of intellectual property. Once you have met the definition of a trade secret – taking information that remains secret to others and has actual or economic value and taking reasonable means to protect its secrecy – you’ve done it. A trade secret exists. There is no other technical process to follow or steps to take.

What Isn’t a Trade Secret?

Basically, anything that doesn’t meet the definition of a trade secret is not one. Having information that is kept secret from others doesn’t mean you have a trade secret if it has no value. Even if it did have value, if you publicly revealed it or made it available when conducting your business, the information doesn’t remain secret and trade secret has not been created.

New York Business Lawyers

Unique information is often the crux of a successful business, so keeping that information from becoming public or falling into the hands of competitors is critical. Taking the right steps to ensure your valuable information stays in your hands is important, so having experienced counsel in your corner to make sure you properly protect it can make all the difference. Contact the experienced business lawyers at MOWK Law today to let us answer your questions and work with you to make sure your business continues to run smoothly and give you peace of mind.