Protecting & Gaining Value from Your Trade Secret


A trade secret is something that has independent value because it is a secret. Think of things like the formula for Coke or Mrs. Field’s cookie recipe. Both of these secrets are preserved by their respective owners who take deliberate steps to maintain their secret status.

There are a lot of things that can be considered a trade secret and will help to increase a company’s value. Customer lists, recipes, formulas, sales techniques, and business methods are common examples of trade secrets. Formal filing with a governmental agency is not required to create and protect trade secrets. This why it is important to know how to preserve the value of your trade secrets. Below, we explain how.

  • Inventory & Identify Trade Secrets: Figure out what secrets give your business more value. Make a processes for keeping your trade secrets secret. Are your secrets secured? Has anyone who has access to trade secrets signed a non-disclosure agreement?
  • Trade Secret Laws Vary: Unlike patent, trademark, and copyright law, trade secrets don’t have overarching federal governance. Consult with an experienced attorney to determine what laws impact your trade secrets.
  • Transactions: Trade secrets can be a valuable part of a business sale or merger. It is important to take the necessary steps to protect these secrets. Don’t show your trade secrets to a prospective buyer without having them sign a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Enforce Trade Secrets: Act quickly if an employee or contractor takes some or all of your trade secrets. Take all necessary legal steps to protect your valuable trade secrets.

Knowing how to protect your trade secrets will build and strengthen your brand against unlawful competition. It will also create value for investors or when you decide to sell your company.

Do you have more questions about protecting trade secrets? Contact our San Diego business law attorneys to schedule a consultation today.