What is a trade secret?

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A trade secret refers to information which meets the following requirements:

  1. it is secret, meaning that it is not, as a body or in the precise configuration and assembly of its components, generally known among or readily accessible to persons within the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question;
  2. it has commercial value because it is secret; and
  3. it has been subject to reasonable steps under the circumstances, by the person in control of the information, to keep it secret.

The type of information that can be considered as a trade secret is therefore highly diversified, including know-how, technological knowledge, business and commercial data such as lists of customers, business plans, recipes or manufacturing processes. Even though most business information could potentially be regarded as a trade secret, in practice most of it does not need to be treated as such since it has no commercial value. It is therefore important that companies are aware of the information that they consider secret, allowing their effective protection and management.