Trade secrets are information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors. Trade secrets must be maintained in confidence and can provide the owner with the right to prevent others from using or disseminating the protected information.

Trade secrets may include financial information, customer lists, blueprints, formulas, processing steps or similar information. Trade-secret protection can last for an unlimited duration.

State substantive law governs trade secrets, and they do not have to be registered or be issued by a government agency. Trade secrets are similar in concept to confidential business information and idea misappropriation.