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 In an example of a viewable drug report in the database that Vargas showed during the hearing, the manufacturer had marked that its marketing data was a trade secret, however the information was disclosed. Emily Green, oregonlive, 26 Dec. 2021 The modification of traditional commercial blood testing equipment to run the Theranos samples was a trade secret, and that is why Holmes could not be more forthcoming to investors and the public about the devices, Downey said. NBC News, 16 Dec. 2021 Indeed, Leach's frustration with the trade secret defense became evident last Tuesday. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, 7 Dec. 2021 In testimony and evidence, Ms. Holmes was shown to have guarded information about the business, calling it a trade secret. New York Times, 4 Nov. 2021 Xu faces charges including conspiracy to commit economic espionage and conspiracy to commit trade secret theft. Kevin Grasha, The Enquirer, 19 Oct. 2021 There may also be trade secret information that companies do not want to share outside of a secure server or a customer requirement. Kevin Krewell, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 The investors in a typical venture capital fund — known as limited partners — are not publicly listed, and their identity is often considered a trade secret by the fund managers who cultivate relationships with LPs over decades. Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2021 The burden of determining that any User Content is not protected by copyright, trademark, trade secret, right of publicity or other proprietary right rests with you. CNN, 22 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for trade secret

Time Traveler

The first known use of trade secret was in 1825

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Dictionary Entries Near trade secret

trades council

trade secret


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Statistics for trade secret

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Trade secret.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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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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