A trade secret is any closely held information that gives your business a competitive edge and advantage. Even if others can obtain this information through manipulation hard work, what matters is that you aim to keep the information SECRET. Trade secret law varies from state to state but most states follow the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which helps when your business expands across state lines.
Think about how you treat your business secrets. Do all of your employees have access to that ‘secret’ sauce recipe your burgers are famous for? If so, it may no longer be a secret! Proper training and handling of trade secrets is key to your business success- so treat it like that. Items like Non-Disclosure Agreements and other trade secret business strategies help keep your IP goodies from flying out your door when that disgruntled employee leaves to open up his own ‘secret sauce shop.’
Also, if your secret can be easily revered engineered, you may want to consider the avenue of patent protection. Filing for a patent takes you out of the realm of trade secret law (your information must be disclosed, aka no longer a secret) and has a protection time limit (protection only exists for the life of the patent, which is 20 years from the filing date of the application). So think about what strategy may be good for your business- and make sure you protect your hard work!
Bottom line: Think like Coca-Cola, they have become the masters of protecting their secret coke recipe for hundreds of years through the power of trade secret law- ask yourself: Is this information confidential and key to my business success? If so, what are you doing to protect it today?
A quick reminder, my Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and this does not mean we have an attorney-client relationship. This is a conversation starter! Do not post any confidential information here, because it will no longer be confidential. Keep is classy folks.