What is a trade secret?

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Lately we have been  getting a lot of questions about ingredients and formulas that are classified as a “trade secret,” so we wanted to put out some brief information on what a Trade Secret is.

According to Burton’s Legal Thesaurus, a trade secret is: “…knowledge which provides superiority, protected design used by a business, protected formula used by a business, protected information used by a business, protected instrument used by a business, protected knowledge which provides an edge, protected pattern used by a business, protected practice used by a business, protected special knowledge, protected unique knowledge” (Burton’s Legal Thesaurus). An example of this is the exact natural flavorings in our tea at Sereni-tea, which is a formula/recipe that our suppliers have created and gives them the edge over other company for a specific flavored tea or leaf blend. In other words any “advantageous” information that can provide a business with and edge over a competing business is a Trade Secret; this applies to ideas, inventions, formulas or compilations of data that are used by a business or individual to make itself more unique and therefore successful (a.k.a. that unique something-something). Trade Secret does not protect information that is common knowledge, such as the tea is a black tea. Below is a great diagram that displays information about Trade Secrets!


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Burton’s Legal Thesaurus, 4E. Copyright © 2007 by William C. Burton. Used with permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

Cundiff, Victoria A., and Salem M. Katsh. 2002. Trade Secrets 2002: How to Protect Confidential Business & Technical Information. New York: Practising Law Institute.

Lockerby, Michael J., ed. 2000. The Trade Secret Handbook: Protecting Your Franchise System’s Competitive Advantage. Chicago: Forum on Franchising, American Bar Association.

West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/trade+secret (Looked at on 1/29/2015 at 11 AM PST.)


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