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Why Trade Secrets Matter to SMEs

Your competitive edge flows from your information advantage. Strategic insights, from business plans and customer preferences to manufacturing processes and data compilations can all be protected through trade secrets. Trade secrets have the potential to protect a wide range of information that has commercial value due to its confidential nature.

How your business can benefit from trade secrets

Every business has potentially valuable information that may be protected by trade secrets. Keeping them safe can enable you to:

Get protection at a minimal cost

Ensure long term protection

Share safely with others

Protect what other intellectual property rights cannot

Protect yourself when employees move on

Earn income

What you need to know about trade secrets protection

Trade secrets protect information that has commercial value when confidential. It requires no registration process. However, you must take reasonable steps to keep it secret to qualify for protection. The type of information protected can vary from country to country. In some cases, only technical information qualifies.

These rights only protect against unauthorized uses of confidential information. There is no protection if the information is acquired by another person through independent development, reverse engineering, leakage or gleaning it from public sources.

Trade secret rights can be combined with other types of IP protection, including patents, copyright, industrial designs and trademarks, as part of an effective IP strategy.

There are no official costs directly associated with trade secret protection. However, there may be costs associated with implementing reasonable measures to safeguard them.

Trade secrets protect their owners against improper obtaining, using or disclosing of confidential information. Proving someone has taken or used your trade secret inappropriately can be challenging and in some cases reduce the value of your trade secret in the process. The enforcement process, and what you have to prove, can vary from country to country.

Be prepared to act quickly and have the documentation easily available to show you own a trade secret. If you suspect someone has taken your trade secret or is using it without your permission, act quickly. You may be able to put a stop to the use before court proceedings have happened to limit the damage.

Learn more about how to protect your confidential information using trade secrets

Learn how SMEs are using trade secrets in their businesses

Explore how trade secrets can be used to enhance your business, and find more case studies and stories.


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