The scope of what can be considered a trade secret for Washington companies that own them as intellectual property is extensive. A trade secret is practically any information that can be used to give the property holder an edge on all of its competitors. Practically any information a company hides that pertains to their product line can be a trade secret. The problem is that the U.S. economy is a copycat economy in many respects, which means that many businesses must protect their intellectual property from all competitors at any cost, which can be done effectively by trade secret declaration.
The mere fact that trade secrets by definition must be kept from the public is enough incentive for intellectual property owners and their business litigation attorneys to file for protection as a trade secret as opposed to a patent or copyright. Patents and copyrights are published information that has expiration dates. Trade secrets can be held in confidentiality on an ongoing continual basis. Additionally, when secrets are leaked, the potential for an infringement claim value is greater.
Extended trade secrets
Trade secret protection not only covers certain information used in a marketed product. Internal company information can be protected as trades secrets as well, such as marketing strategies, business processes, information about potential market share control, and practically anything that has marketable value. It is the job of their legal professionals to ensure that the secrets remain undisclosed, often done through non-compete agreements and non-disclosure agreements with employees and company officials.
Any company that has intellectual property they want to protect should consider if the property can be qualified as a trade secret. The protection provided is much stronger than a patent or a copyright, and especially for a trademark that is publicly displayed for advertising purposes.