As an up-and-coming business owner, entrepreneur or content creator of any sort, it is important to protect what makes your work unique. You can go about this in many ways, such as filing for patents or copyright.
But what about trade secret protection? Though it gets a little less press than other forms of intellectual property (IP) protection, it can still provide you some crucial coverage.
What is a trade secret?
The World Intellectual Property Organization discusses all you need to know about trade secrets. First, what is a trade secret? This is an IP right regarding confidential information. You can sell or license this secret. In order to qualify, a trade secret needs to:
- Remain contained to a select number of people
- Be commercially valuable due to the fact that it is a secret
- Be subject to reasonable steps the owner takes in order to keep it a secret
No registration needed
You do not need to register in order to protect a trade secret, which sets it apart from things like patents. This means you get to skip out on all formalities of a filing process, along with the fees associated with it. On top of that, trade secret protection lasts for an unlimited amount of time until you sell the information or it gets leaked to the public. At that point, unfortunately, it is out of your hands.
While this makes trade secrets a desirable option for many business owners, note that there are potential drawbacks, too. For example, in order for something to count as a trade secret, it must meet somewhat rigorous standards. In the end, it is up to you to weigh the possible benefits and downsides and decide from there.