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On trade secrets and preserving their confidentiality

Everyone one wants to know the exact recipe for Coca-Cola. Everyone wants to know what's in that "secret sauce" at the sandwich shop down the street. And when the recipe for KFC's special breading for their chicken was accidentally revealed earlier this month, it made news across the country and even the world.

We mention all of these anecdotes for one reason: to exemplify just how important trade secrets are for businesses. They are their key to success. A trade secret needs to be protected because if everyone knew about it, then the one aspect of your business that is so profitable, valuable and unique would suddenly be ubiquitous and worthless. It's why everyone wants to know these hallowed secrets.

In the state of Minnesota, a trade secret is valid if it meets the following two pieces of criteria:

  • If the information contained in the trade secret is not generally known or is difficult to ascertain
  • If the owner of the information has responsibly and reasonably done what he or she can to protect the information and maintain its secrecy.

The information can be in many different formats, such as blueprints, recipes, formulas or even patterns.

Guarding these secrets and ensuring that a limited number of people (or even no one else) have access to or knowledge of the trade secret is vital. Sometimes nondisclosure agreements are utilized in this regard, ensuring that employees are incentivized to keep the trade secret, well, secret. If your business is looking to protect a recipe, formula, pattern or other trade secret, or you are pursuing legal action against someone who is leaking your trade secret, please consider the Faricy Law Firm. 

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