A trade secret is a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, or a collection of information which is not generally known, invented or created, by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers. In some jurisdictions, such secrets are referred to as "confidential information" or "classified information".
There are three factors that are common to all definitions of a trade secret, a trade secret is information that:
- Is not generally known to the public;
- Grants some sort of economic benefit on its holder (where this benefit must derive specifically from its not being generally known, not just from the value of the information itself);
- Is the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.