Title: The management and security of trade secrets: an exploratory study

Authors: D. Richard Stead, Adam R. Cross

Addresses: Leeds Metropolitan University, Bronte Hall, Headingley Campus, Leeds, LS6 3QS, UK. ' Centre for International Business University of Leeds (CIBUL), Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK

Abstract: Trade secrets differ from intellectual property such as patents, trademarks and industrial designs in that, for the latter to receive legal protection, they must be placed in the public domain. By contrast, trade secrets are not disclosed but receive legal protection by virtue of the steps taken to keep them secret. This exploratory study seeks to provide a foundation for a general understanding of the nature and governance of trade secrets and their role in management practice. Propositions are developed and tested on their nature, location within the firm and the mechanisms that operate to keep them secure from betrayal to competitors.

Keywords: security; intellectual property management; confidential information; trade secrets; information theft; anti-betrayal mechanisms.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIPM.2009.024405

International Journal of Intellectual Property Management, 2009 Vol.3 No.3, pp.256 - 277

Published online: 02 Apr 2009 *

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