A trade secret can be transferred, or a third party can be authorised to use it, through a licence or transfer agreement.
Patent protection is acquired through a legal process. The exclusive right for exploitation for patents is 20 years and for utility models it is 10 years. It makes it possible to prevent third parties using the patent commercially. It is an exclusive right, the holder can defend the patent against any infringement. Trade secrets do not require legal procedures; it is enough to adopt measures to avoid their disclosure. Protection lasts for an unlimited period of time, providing the necessary means are applied so as to prevent disclosure of the secret. Its protection does not confer the right to prevent use by third parties. It is more difficult to keep and defend an industrial secret, as it is not granted as an exclusive right.
What are the differences between industrial secrets technical knowledge and know-how?
An industrial secret is any technical knowledge relating to ideas, products or industrial procedures which, because of its competitive value for the company, the business person wishes to keep concealed.
A commercial secret is understood as any type of information, whatever its nature, which affects the companys life and management, has value for the company and which competitors would like to know. As an example, trade secrets include any information which affects the companys internal organisation, company-supplier and company-customer relations, and sales techniques.
Trade secrets are defined in broad terms covering: • Commercial secrets • Industrial secrets
A trade secret is understood as a set of knowledge and information which is not accessible to the general public and which is essential for: manufacturing or marketing products, providing services the companys administrative or financial organisation, and giving a competitive advantage in the market to whoever possesses that information, avoiding its disclosure and striving to conserve it.