Trade secret represents form of intellectual property used to protect confidential information, which like other formal rights of intellectual property can be sold or licensed. Trade secret is considered any information:
- Which has or might have commercial value because it is not generally known or available to the third parties;
- Which is protected by its holder by appropriate measures to preserve its secrecy and
- Whose communication to a third party could harm its owner.
Trade secret is also taken to be:
- Undisclosed data about tests and other data filed to the government bodies for the sake of obtaining permission for the commercialization of medicines, medical devices, agricultural chemical products and biocide products;
- Other data, which, by a special law, other regulation or act of the legal person, are considered a trade secret.
What information is protected by trade secrets?
Various kinds of information can be protected by a trade secret, such as:
- Financial, economic, business, scientific, technical, technological, production information;
- Studies, results of examination;
- Formulas, drawings, plans, projects, models, programs, methods, techniques, information or manuals of internal character, etc.
The following can not be protected as a trade secret:
- Information denoted as a trade secret for the sake of covering a criminal act, overstepping of authority or misuse of the official position or other illegal act or the acting of the domestic or foreign natural or legal person, and
- Information for which it has been prescribed by the special Law that they can not represent a trade secret.
What are the conditions for some information to be protected as a trade secret?
SECRECY OF THE INFORMATION – Well-known or immediately identifiable information can not be protected as a trade secret.
COMMERCIAL VALUE OF INFORMATION – The information will have a commercial value due to which it will be considered a trade secret if it gives its holder an advantage over the competition.
MEASURS FOR THE PROTECTION OF SECRECY – What concrete measures shall the holder of the confidential information undertake in order to keep it secret depends from the kind, importance and value of the information. Examples: signing agreement on confidentiality, marking with the sign denoting secrecy, introduction of provisions on the trade secret in the contracts with the employees, limiting access to documents or files containing confidential information, etc.
No formal registration or decision to establish a trade secret is required to obtain protection against unfair competition. The holder of a trade secret has the right to:
- Transfer to another person the right of use of the trade secret;
- Forbid to other persons the unlawful acquisition, disclosure or use of the trade secret in a manner contrary to law or fair practices.
For the protection of trade secrets, no formal protection procedure is initiated, but the holder of trade secrets should regulate the access to and management of information that may be a business secret by an internal act on business secrets (for employers), contractual and physical protection measures.
For the protection of the trade secret, no formal protection procedure is initiated, but the holder (eg. employers) of the trade secret should arrange by internal act on the trade secret, legal and physical measures of protection as well as the access and the management of information that can represent a trade secret.