27.6 Intellectual property (IP) and ownership

27.6.3 Trade secrets

Any information that may be used in the operation of a business and that is sufficiently valuable to afford an actual or potential economic advantage is considered a trade secret. Trade secrets include formulas, patterns, compilations, programs, devices, techniques or processes that derive independent economic value from not being generally known. Examples of trade secrets can be formulas for products, such as the formula for Coca-Cola; compilations of information that provide a business with a competitive advantage, such as a database listing customers; or advertising strategies and distribution processes. Unlike patents, trade secrets are protected for an unlimited period of time, and without any procedural formalities.

End user license agreements (EULAs) traditionally contain prohibitions against the reverse engineering of software to protect the trade secrets contained in the code.