Talk:Trade secret

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Confidential information[edit]

There should be a separate page on confidential information generally. It is incorrect to redirect a CI search to the trade secrets page. Trade secrets are simply one form of confidential information; there is no doubt that most if not all common law jurisdictions protect private, personal and secret information of individuals and not-for-profit organisations in the right circumstances. The trade secret article should also acknowledge that the scope of and requirements for protection may vary between jurisdictions. Lizby 10:06, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

These should be cleaned up and expanded upon as this was just a quick dirty add. -- 05:13, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Section Headings[edit]

This article is getting a bit long... should it have section headings? —Preceding unsigned comment added by User:Pfaff9 (talkcontribs)

I concur. --Edcolins 21:35, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

after disclosure[edit]

Is it correct to say that once the secret has become generally known, for example by publication, even by a violator, the protection is no longer there. (In essence, only the violator can be sued).DGG 16:13, 10 March 2007 (UTC)


Would someone add a section on important/significant trade secrets eg coke and links to information about them as it would make this article more interesting and provide better understanding. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:23, 1 April 2007 (UTC).

Open question[edit]

Why can't trade secrets be registered? -- 14:58, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

US biased[edit]

The article has a serious US bias and requires improvement in that respect, by including e.g. information about the differences between trade secret legislation around the world. --Edcolins (talk) 10:46, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Perhaps we should break off the US-specific info into its own page, as has been done for the other types of intellectual property. Arttechlaw (talk) 18:48, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
    • definitely. I'm happy to lend a hand with writing/editing the content. But I don't know much about the procedure for separating out 1 page into 2 separate pages. Teachingaway (talk) 19:29, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Could we have a treatment of the concept of confidential information in English law as well not the garbled account contained in the confidence article as well? The UK has (as far as I know) no trade secret law. It would be interesting to know what countries did have a trade secret law, but its important that this page doesn't try to pretend everyone does. Francis Davey (talk) 21:12, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Re-reading the article as far as I can see it is entirely about US trade secret law with 3 exceptions: (i) a false claim that the law had its origins in England; (ii) a discussion of the incorrect claim made elsewhere that Roman law had a trade secret law; (iii) a short reference to TRIPS. The TRIPS reference is the only true non-US piece and might be of interest in an article called something like "undisclosed commercial information" which looked at the history of TRIPS A39 and at the ways different countries have complied with it (or not). It would be *great* to have a true US article and then to be able to start with a clean slate here. Francis Davey (talk) 21:17, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, very good idea... Thus, please feel free to move any U.S.-related material to an article named "United States trade secret law" (to create the article, just click on the red link, but of course you probably know that). A summary of U.S. trade secret law could be kept in the general article "trade secret" provided that other jurisdictions are preferably also discussed. Happy editing! --Edcolins (talk) 21:10, 23 February 2013 (UTC)


The article notes that "Trade secrets are not protected by law in the same manner as trademarks or patents." The word "trademark" is an odd choice (trademark rights are based on (public) use in commerce). I'm betting the original author meant "copyright." Jurisnipper (talk) 21:12, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Reasonable effort[edit]

I am planning to remove this if no source is provided:

"if a person were to use reverse engineering to learn how a certain machine works, then the commercial use of that knowledge would still be a violation of the manufacturer's trade secret, because protect against such actions would be an unreasonable effort"

In which country is this applicable? As far as I know, this is not correct. --Edcolins (talk) 08:10, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Removed for now. --Edcolins (talk) 16:22, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Article off-kilter?[edit]

A number of elements of the article seem to be a bit off-center:
- the USPTO page referenced in note 3. from the section "Comparison with patents " mentions "references", but this Trade Secret article cites that page in relation to "preferences", using "preferences" twice in the same sentence. Having done 3 different major patent research projects, I can't imagine what relevance "preferences" might have to a patent disclosure (perhaps "preferred implementations"?), and believe this use of "preferences" to be a typo or mental lapse.
Subsequent discovery: the section on "Duty of disclosure" in <> seems to match up well with the discussion involving "preferences" on this Trade secret page.
- the section "Comparison with trademarks" seems completely irrelevant, though a small bid is made for relevance in the final parenthesized sentence of the section. The whole comparison with trademarks appears to be otiose, unlike that with Patents.
- the article seems too strongly rooted in US law and practice (I live in Japan), though it does make occasional reference to differences internationally, without providing much information about those differences.
I don't feel comfortable making any changes myself as I am not any kind of content expert in this area. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:48, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Prior art[edit]

Although "prior art" is not mentioned in this article, the Wikipedia article on Prior art <> is very relevant to the intersection of trade secrets with patent law, especially the second paragraph of that page. Rather than botch it myself, I'd ask Wikipedia editing experts to consider adding this link.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Rename to Trade Secrets in the US and start over.[edit]

. --Leladax (talk) 23:03, 24 August 2010 (UTC)


I thought that 'theft' is when you take something w/o permission, not copy it. [1] Artem Karimov (talk) 10:07, 20 November 2011 (UTC)


The history section seems like a garbled re-telling of something without checking sources. I cannot see anything in Newbery v James that looks like a recognition of "trade secret" law in so far as I understand what the concept means (I'm an English lawyer and I'm fairly sure that we don't have anything resembling the US equivalent - we have a law of confidence but that's a different matter). What happened in the case is that the court dissolved an interim injunction and suggested that a claim be made for damages. It did not recognise that there was a claim, it merely refused to continue an injunction. The secret was a secret by contract, so it looks (to me) much like a breach of contract case. The only "trade secret" aspect being that the court thought that because the secret protected by contract was contained in a patent grant, specific performance would not be ordered, which seems to suggest the opposite for what the article contends. I am reading Mark Lemley's paper (which is the reference supporting the quote). The fact he can't be bothered to spell the case name correctly suggests he didn't read it and so is not really a reliable source. Francis Davey (talk) 22:59, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

I had just placed two {{Clarify}} requests in the 19th century paragraph before reading your comment above, so after that Newbery cite I have now added {{dubious}} linking to this Talk page section. -84user (talk) 17:59, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

US Bias[edit]

This article either needs completely re-writing or re-naming to Trade Secrets in the US as there is virtually no information on other countries and the article hasn't been improved since the first mention of US only info was tagged in December 2010. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Silent52 (talkcontribs)

Absolutely in spades! The problem seems to be that the US developed a system for protecting trade secrets that is distinct from the way that similar kinds of secret are protected elsewhere. Unfortunately US legal literature appears (see my remark above) to see in earlier common law cases a nascent "trade secret" law which is not really there. Thus there is an assumption that really its all the same, when in fact the English equivalent - breach of confidence - is really very different indeed. Breach of confidence was developed by our courts as an analogy to breach of trust, or perhaps an extension of the concept. It has a very different jurisprudential shape, both in theory and in practice. It is simply confusing to try to put the two together and pretend they are all really the same thing. What is more the term "trade secret" *is* used in English law but for a category of secrets that are *more* than merely confidential (see Faccenda Chicken v Fowler for instance). A page about the protection of confidential information in different legal systems, pointing to articles, would be great. This really ought to be about US trade secret law and anything useful on other systems can be merged into breach of confidence etc. We can then see if we have enough for a general page, which might need a different name. Francis Davey (talk) 21:56, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
I also agree, but I have no expertise in this area, other than limited experience with business confidential secrets in United Kingdom employment contracts. In case it helps any future editor, here are a few UK-related links: Laws Protecting Trade Secrets and Confidential Information set to Change, Intellectual property and your work and Guidance - Factsheet on Trade Secrets in China. -84user (talk) 18:07, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

requests for expansion of information[edit]

I'm having trouble finding the legal precedents possible repercussions of a person publishing a trade secret on behalf of another. This has been brought up in Scientology lawsuits and the AACS key. My understanding is that it is misappropriation of a trade secret, but the actual application of this to, say, internet publication seems undecided.

The California Supreme Court appears to have ruled that it is free speech to publish the secret, but that the publication can have an injunction applied. Does that mean the publisher cannot really be prosecuted or sued? What about the Coke formula revealed in the book Big Secrets, or was that relatively free of legal action only because it was published before USTA? Are there people who can shed more light on this area of US law? SamuelRiv (talk) 06:06, 16 March 2013 (UTC)