Protect Your Trade Secrets

A trade secret is quite different from a patent. A patent is a contract between you and the government, where the government says, if you tell us enough about your invention, so that your patent, after it expires, can show people how to make your invention, then for 20 years from the date of filing, we’ll help you to stop other people from copying it, from infringing that patent.

So it’s based on publication. After 18 months, your patent application is published. And of course, the patent is published once it’s allowed. Whereas trade secrets are completely different. Trade secrets are based on secrecy. They must be something that has not been disclosed to the public. It’s been kept quiet inside your, inside your company.

And what’s very important is that people need to know that it’s a trade secret. If you do divulge it to people, you need to tell them this is a trade secret. The people in your company need to know that this is a trade secret. You cannot just wake up afterwards and say, “Well, that was my trade secret.” It must be treated that way from day one.