trade secret


Definition of trade secret

: something (such as a formula) which has economic value to a business because it is not generally known or easily discoverable by observation and for which efforts have been made to maintain secrecy

Examples of trade secret in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Indeed, Dicerna disputed that the technology in question was a trade secret at all. Jonathan Saltzman,, "Two Cambridge biotechs settle dispute over alleged theft of trade secrets," 20 Apr. 2018 Corexit’s ingredients are a trade secret, making testing difficult, Afshar-Mohajer said. Tristan Baurick,, "Dispersants can turn oil spills into toxic mist, research shows," 21 Mar. 2018 Schools are able to find these loopholes for public records laws for protecting trade secrets. Sean Illing, Vox, "How corporate cash bought higher education," 14 Nov. 2018 The two countries are locked in a dispute over U.S. allegations that China steals U.S. technology and forces U.S. companies to share trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market. Alex Veiga, The Seattle Times, "US stocks tumble in early trade after global markets slide," 23 Oct. 2018 Qualcomm suspected Apple of sharing trade secrets with Intel at the time, but the company said the lack of an audit hampered its ability to investigate the matter. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Apple stole Qualcomm chip secrets and gave them to Intel, Qualcomm claims," 25 Sep. 2018 Prosecutors say the conspiracy involved the theft of trade secrets related to sodium cyanide, a chemical most often used to mine gold, silver, and other precious metals. Fox News, "Chemours ex-worker pleads guilty in China trade secrets case," 12 June 2018 There remain potential legal issues involving possible disclosures of trade secrets and health info, and the NBA could explore whether league rules were violated. Mitchell Gladstone,, "What they're saying about Bryan Colangelo's resignation: Sixers players and others react," 7 June 2018 Detrick’s story highlights several instances where accounts allegedly linked to Colangelo could have shared trade secrets. Michael Mccann,, "The Potential Legal Consequences of Bryan Colangelo's Twitter Controversy," 30 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trade secret.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of trade secret

1825, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for trade secret

Last Updated

8 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for trade secret

The first known use of trade secret was in 1825

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More Definitions for trade secret

trade secret


English Language Learners Definition of trade secret

: something (such as a special way of doing or making something) that is known only by the company that uses it and is protected from competitors

trade secret

trade se·​cret

Legal Definition of trade secret

: a formula, process, device, or item of information used by a business that has economic value because it is not generally known or easily discovered by observation or examination and for which reasonable efforts to maintain secrecy have been made

Note: Trade secrets are a form of intellectual property. Many states have enacted laws which create an action for damages or injunctive relief against misappropriation of trade secrets by improper means. Information contained in a patent is not protected as a trade secret.

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to corrupt or become corrupted

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