What is a Trade Secret?

     A trade secret is generally something that is not known or readily discoverable that gives the owner an advantage in its business activities. A trade secret may be business information, such as customer lists, business or marketing plans, lists of suppliers, and/or ideas or plans for business expansion. Products and product information may also be protected as trade secrets, including formulas, manufacturing methods, software code, maintenance techniques and non-standard tooling and manufacturing methods.
     The essential requirement of trade secret protection is that relative secrecy be maintained. This requires that people not be provided with the information, unless they are under an obligation not to further use or disclose the trade secret.