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11.5 Trade Secrets


A similar device to patents except there is no public disclosure, and it may include information, or other non-patentable things. Generally a trade secret permits a business advantage over the competition ("industrial know-how")


If somebody is given a trade secret (and it is made clear that it is both valuable and confidential), then they expose the trade secret, they can be sued for damages.


The legal factors to determine secrecy are,

- similar knowledge outside the business

- measures taken to guard the secret

- the competitive value of the information

- the development cost for the information


Employers can restrain or sue former employees with regard to trade secrets. [Amber Size & Chemical Co. Ltd. v. Menzel] Although courts will be reluctant to prevent a former employee from earning a living.


Corporations may also be liable for trade secrets if they are entrusted with them, and then disclose them.


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