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Patent School

Trade secret

Trade secrets are typically knowledge that are kept in house and are not disclosed to the public. Trade secrets can be any form of information that has commercial value because it is a secret. It is a prerequisite for the protection of trade secrets that “reasonable measures” have been taken to keep the information a secret.

Examples of trade secrets are: the recipe for Coca Cola, the spice mix used by KFC, customer lists, price lists, production yields, flow charts for fermentations, etc.

It is possible to get protection for the unlawful use of one’s trade secrets if there is proof that the alleged infringer obtained the trade secret from its owner and that the infringer got hold of the information in a dishonest way. To enforce this right the infringer could for example be a person who has violated a law or was bound by confidentiality when the trade secret was obtained.

There is a heavy burden of proof for such cases, and therefore it has previously been seen that trade secrets have mostly been enforced against former employees and business partners.

The enforcement of an alleged infringements takes place in court where it is possible to ask the judge to issue an injunction prohibiting the infringer from using the technology. In addition, it is possible to claim compensation for potential loss.

It generally makes good sense for companies to combine protection of inventions and technology with a mix of patent protection and trade secrets. Technology that needs to be published with the product are typically patented and technology that is difficult to demonstrate are kept as a trade secret. In this way, one can avoid publishing one’s secrets about inventions that would be difficult to enforce as a patent.

VALUA are specialists in putting together the best protection for businesses. Feel free to contact us if there is a need to discuss this matter.