Trade secrets and know how are very important, and for some technology businesses can be an extremely valuable technology asset.

“Trade secrets” and “know how” are sometimes used interchangeably.

Each phrase refers to information or knowledge that:

  1. is known to a business
  2. is not known by anyone else, or is not generally known by the public
  3. has value, because it is not known at all by anyone else, or is not generally known by the public, and
  4. its value is sought to be preserved by maintaining secrecy.

Examples of trade secrets and know how include: a manufacturing process, a formula, a formulation, a methodology, a business method, an algorithm.

Even the knowledge that the use of one raw material over an alternative raw material produces a better product is a trade secret or know how.

They are called trade secrets or know how because they are important to a business, and the business seeks to protect them, and to ensure that competitors do not have access to and benefit from the trade secrets and know how.

Trade secrets and know how are a subset of confidential information.

More broadly, confidential Information can include any type of business information such as login codes and passwords, business plans, marketing plans, marketing forecasts, budgets, customer lists and supplier lists, and a business’ financial information. These can all be considered confidential information, although they may be unrelated to science, technology or IP. Like trade secrets and know how, a business maintains secrecy over this confidential information, and protects it to ensure that it does not enter the public domain.