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About Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are a form of intellectual property and part of an asset class called intangible assets.

Over the past 40 years, there has been a huge shift from tangible assets, such as property, plant and equipment, to intangible assets, such as patents, trademarks and trade secrets. In 1975, intangible assets accounted for 17% of the value of the S&P 500. Today, they account for 84% – more than $21 trillion in value.

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Despite this shift in value, most risk management programs have not kept pace.

Recent studies show that only 16% of intangible assets are secured against potential loss[1].

  • Tangible Assets
  • Secured Intangible Assets
  • Unsecured Intangible Assets

Trade secrets are among the most exposed intellectual property assets and where companies are the most vulnerable. A trade secret is information that has value because it is not generally known, has competitive value, and is protected by reasonable security measures to maintain its secrecy. Examples include your business plan, your manufacturing processes, and your customer lists.

Unlike registered intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks and copyrights, trade secrets are not disclosed to the world at large. Instead, to qualify as a trade secrets, owners of this information need to take steps to protect them, often including technological and security measures.

According to research from Baker McKenzie, 48% of ~400 Senior Executives consider trade secrets more important than their patents and trademarks, while 69% foresee protecting trade secrets becoming more critical than safeguarding other types of intellectual property given the rapid pace of innovation.

When asked to identify the greatest threat to their trade secrets, 32% of the Baker McKenzie survey respondents said they most feared having trade secrets stolen by former employees, followed by suppliers, consultants and other third parties (28%), and current employees (20%).

Aon’s Trade Secret Registry lets you to identify, record and manage your trade secrets, through a blockchain-enabled platform.

Trade Secret Registry

Aon’s Trade Secret Registry is a secure platform that helps maintain your trade secrets’ value, establish ownership, and decrease your risk of theft and related litigation.

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Risk Assessment

How well are you managing your trade secret risk? Take this short assessment to see where you stand.

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