Home » What Makes Trade Secrets Valuable?| IP Conversations

What Makes Trade Secrets Valuable?| IP Conversations

Everyone knows that patents can be very valuable financial assets? But did you know that trade secrets can be another effective way to protect your innovations? Read this IP Conversation to find out!

Hey IP Geek. 

I heard recently that for some organizations, Trade Secrets may be worth more than patents. 

Is this true? What makes Trade Secrets so valuable?


A couple of things set Trade Secrets apart from other forms of IP.

First, protecting a Trade Secret does not require you to disclose all or part of the secret. Second, the time limit for their protection is potentially limitless. But not all information is automatically a trade secret. For information to become one, three requirements must be fulfilled.

Firstly, the information must be commercially valuable.

Secondly, it must generally not be known to people.

Finally, sustained and continuous efforts must be made by the owner to keep this information a secret. 

Any information must fulfil and continue to fulfil these criteria to remain a trade secret.


Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are the most common tool used to protect trade secrets.

Most significantly, trade secrets can be protected for perpetuity unlike patents which have a built-in expiration date.

This makes them incredibly valuable if used well.


Ah I see. It is situational, but I can see why someone might choose to use trade secrets instead of patents.

Thanks for the information, IP Geek.


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