If the Coca-Cola Company had used patent legislation to protect its secret formula, would it have become the most popular soda in the world? Possibly not. Coca-Cola would have had to make the formula known to the world when it filed the patent and would only have had exclusive rights to the formula for as few as 20 years. However, by following critical steps to protect the formula as a trade secret, the company has kept it a secret for more than a century (maybe…). While Coca-Cola may have realized the value of its soda formula and thus took immediate steps to protect the information, unfortunately, the value of technology, information or processes often isn’t recognized until it is compromised—at which point the information is no longer protectable as a trade secret (which may now include Coca-Cola’s formula).
What is a Trade Secret?
Trade secrets are aspects of your company that, if discovered by a competitor, could significantly impact your bottom line or your ability to compete in the marketplace. To identify which of these aspects are potential trade secrets, ask and answer these eight questions (factors that most courts will look at to determine whether something is protectable as a trade secret)...
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