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What is a trade secret?

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2014 | Business Torts

Ever wondered what Apple does to make its products cool, even though it has competitors who essentially sell the same products? Ever wonder how McDonald’s makes its fries so crispy and irresistible? What about the way Krispy Kreme doughnuts are made, or the special way that BMW cars hug the road?

If you had questions about what goes into these products (or how they are made), you are not alone. Yet, they all have a distinction that sets them apart. The recipes or makeup behind these unique identifiers are called trade secrets. 

Formally defined, trade secrets are confidential pieces of business information that enables a company to obtain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Given that broad of a definition, there is likely to be a great deal of litigation when a company is alleged to have stolen a trade secret.

But in trade secret litigation, there is the ultimate conundrum. How do you seek damages for something that was supposed to be (and supposed to stay)  a secret? This is where skilled litigators are helpful. Of course, it would not help to specifically identify the secret in order to seek damages. It would also be counterintuitive to allow other people to obtain the very secrets you are trying to protect. So an experienced attorney will know how to obtain a protective order so that the secret could be identified only so slightly for purposes of the trial, and only for the purpose on which you believe is relevant.

If you have additional questions about trade secret litigation, an experienced lawyer can help.