Many of the world’s best IP assets remain trade secrets: Yum! Brands, Inc.’s “11 secret herbs and spices” for their KFC chicken recipe and the Coca-Cola Company’s “Merchandise 7X” for their cola drink product to name two famous examples. There will be occasions when exploiting an IP asset requires that it continue to remain confidential in order for the rights owner to maintain effective control over its use, whether for quality concerns or simply to ensure that it is not unlawfully duplicated by an unscrupulous competitor.
Alternatively, there may be times when an inventor decides not to patent some or all of his or her invention because of the disclosure requirements during the registration process, but elects to retain either the whole or part of it as a trade secret, binding employees and partners under strong confidentiality obligations through non-disclosure agreements (“NDAs”) or otherwise dividing different elements of their production process, recipe or formula among different suppliers or service providers so that the rights owner is the only one with the complete picture.
Regardless of the reason and whatever your preferred approach, we can advise you on balancing the needs of commercialising your IP against keeping all or parts of it secret, as well as what you can do to minimise the damage from a leakage or inadvertent disclosure of the same.