In short, the expiration of an NOA may have the effect of terminating the trade secret status of all the information it lists. Since trade secrets can potentially last forever, an NDA covering trade secrets should generally impose confidentiality or non-use obligations that extend indefinitely (and require the return of trade secrets after the end of the NDA). When the NDA also collects information that is simply confidential but does not increase to the level of a trade secret, it may be necessary to limit in time any restrictions on confidential data in order for the agreement to be applicable. In this case, the NDA should establish a permanent obligation with respect to trade secrets and a time-limited obligation with respect to confidential information. Companies like Coca-Cola and KFC are trying to protect their secrets. Unlike patents, trade secrets are protected without registration, i.e. trade secrets do not require procedural formalities to protect them. A trade secret may be protected for an unlimited period of time, unless it is legally discovered or acquired by others and made available to the public. For these reasons, the protection of trade secrets may seem particularly attractive to some companies. However, there are certain conditions under which information can be considered a trade secret. Compliance with these conditions can be more difficult and costly than it is at first glance.

Whenever a trade secret is disclosed too voluntarily and openly, the courts are deemed to no longer be considered trade secrets and therefore cannot be imposed as such. The biggest slip you can make with a trade secret would be to relax with your business secrecy protection, even if you have the NDA on site. Other examples of information that can be protected by trade secrets are financial information, formulas and recipes, as well as source codes. Trade secrets are property rights and can be granted or granted to others. The holder of the trade secret has the right to authorize a third party to access and use trade secrets. The deadlines should apply to ordinary and confidential information, but not to trade secrets, and you should expressly state this in your NDA. If you only use the legal agreement for trade secrets, then don`t mention any time frame. Under Article 10 bis of the Paris Convention on the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention), Member States must offer effective protection against unfair competition. The Paris Convention does not mention or define trade secrets that go beyond general protection against an act contrary to honest business practices. In addition to providing such a definition in your legal agreement, you should develop a practice to clearly identify the information you disclose as „confidential“ or „trade secret“ to avoid confusion.

In market-economy countries, both in developing and industrialized countries, fair competition between firms is seen as an essential means of meeting the supply and demand of the economy and taking advantage of the interests of consumers and society as a whole. In addition, competition is one of the main drivers of innovation. The Unfair Competition Act, including business secrecy, is considered necessary to ensure the fair functioning of the market and encourage innovation by cracking down on anti-competitive business practices. All you have to do is reveal secrets when you file your patent application, but not while the patent is in effect. Once your patent application has been approved, you can develop other proprietary objects based on your invention without disclosing them, and you can keep them as trade secrets. A trade secret is treated differently by the courts than only confidential information.