Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Patents: Trade Secrets

Guide to searching among United States and foreign patents (prior art) to determine whether an idea can be patented.

What Are Trade Secrets?

Trade secrets are an informal way for companies to shield unique, private information from competitors that is valuable to their operations and success.  Trade secrets can be among other things-

  • food recipes
  • perfume formulae
  • business strategies
  • customer lists
  • manufacturing processes
  • pricing and marketing plans
  • sales data

Owners of such data must demonstrate that they have taken measures to secure this information in order for any legal action against a misappropriator to stand in court.  Trade secrets are governed by state laws modeled on the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.