People should consider keeping something as a trade secret if:

  • It is not appropriate for intellectual property (IP) protection
  • They want to keep it secret or
  • They want protection to extend beyond the term of a patent
  • If it would be difficult to copy the process, construction or formulation from the product itself, a trade secret may give the protection people need.
  • However, a trade secret does not stop anyone from inventing the same process or product independently, and can be difficult to keep.


The law protects trade secrets. (Industrial Property Act and Criminal Code) To keep trade secrets protected, people must establish that the information is confidential, and ensure that anyone inventors tell about it signs a Non-Disclosure agreement (NDA). If they then tell anyone about it, this is a breach of confidence and it is possible to take legal action against them.