When it comes to protecting intellectual property, patents certainly get all the press. Depending on the circumstances, there are instances where patent protection may not be the best option—namely instances where the publication of the very details of the innovative concept, as required for a patent, would be ruinous to the company. For the technology firm, there are other options for protecting valuable innovations, one of which is the primary focus of this article—trade secrets.
Trade secrets, generally speaking, may be virtually any kind of data, information, process or know-how that is not known or easily ascertained. In other words, a trade secret is…a secret. There are essentially two requirements for claiming that you have a trade secret: