A trade secret has three basic characteristics:
- It is secret
- It confers a competitive advantage on its owner
- It is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy
Trade secrets can take many forms. They can be formulas, plans, designs, patterns, supplier lists, customer lists, financial data, personnel information, physical devices, processes, computer software, and a catch-all category of “know-how” — just about any kind of secret information that relates to a business. Even a compilation of generally known facts can be a trade secret, if the compilation confers a competitive edge to whomever has access to it and is kept secret.
In pharmaceutical industry, trade secret plays vital role. Formula, manufacturing processes are the two things most pharmaeutical manufacturer try to protect as trade secret. And in licensing deal, trade secret plays a major role.