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Trade Secrets

Definition

A trade secret is information or know-how developed in the context of business or trade, which meets the following requirements: it is secret – in the sense that it is not generally known among or readily accessible to persons within the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question, it has commercial value because it is secret, and it has been subject to reasonable steps to keep it secret.

Trade secrets are a valuable resource for many companies whose assets may, for instance, not be patentable and yet have a great commercial value. They can also be used as an alternative to patenting in order to avoid the disclosure that comes with publication. There is no term of expiration for a trade secret: as long as it is duly kept in confidence, a trade secret will be protected and enforceable by its holder. The modalities of enforcement of trade secrets may however vary depending on the legal system.

Resources about trade secrets

European IP Helpdesk

European IP Helpdesk - Guide to IP in Europe
English
(1.79 MB - PDF)
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China IP Helpdesk

China IP SME Helpdesk - Protecting Your Trade Secrets in China
English
(1.24 MB - PDF)
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Latin America IP Helpdesk

Latin America IP SME Helpdesk - Trade Secrets in a Nutshell
English
(587.49 KB - PDF)
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South-East Asia IP Helpdesk

South-East Asia IP SME Helpdesk - Protecting your Trade Secret in South-East Asia
English
(461.75 KB - PDF)
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Frequently Asked Questions

General information about trade secrets

Frequently Asked Questions

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