Trade secrets are collections of information that aren’t publicly available and provide an economic advantage to their owner. They are the opposite of a trademark, copyright or patent, in that their efficacy relies on their remaining private.
The most famous example of a trade secret, is the Coca Cola soda recipe. The original copy of the recipe has been stored in a vault in an Atlanta bank for more nearly one hundred years. According to the some reports, only two Coca Cola executives have access to the recipe, and each only has access to half of the ingredients list. Because laboratory chemical analysis systems exist that could easily decipher the ingredients and exact proportions in the soda, Coke’s trade secret’s value relies more on the publicity and marketing aspect of the secret than on the secret of the ingredients themselves.
Still, for most companies, protecting their trade secrets is a real priority and economic necessity. The following infographic from Kelly / Warner Law takes an interesting look at the concept.