A company develops a process of manufacturing its products that allows it to produce its products at a lower cost. Such a process gives the company a competitive advantage over its competitors. The company concerned can therefore value its know-how as a trade secret and does not want its competitors to be informed. It ensures that only a limited number of people know the secret, and those who know it are very well informed that it is confidential. In its dealings with third parties or when licensing its know-how, the company enters into confidentiality agreements to ensure that all parties know that secret information should not be disclosed. The company should also take appropriate measures to keep know-how secret, such as the introduction of access and security controls and the implementation of internal procedures for systematic monitoring and monitoring of trade secrets. Under these conditions, the misappropriation of information by a competitor or a third party would be considered a violation of the company`s business secrets. However, such measures will only be effective if products cannot be „developed backwards“ by competitors. All you have to do is reveal secrets when you file your patent application, but not while the patent is in effect.
Once your patent application has been approved, you can develop other proprietary objects based on your invention without disclosing them, and you can keep them as trade secrets. Compared to patents, the advantage of trade secrets lies in the fact that a trade secret is not time-limited (it remains „indefinitely until the secret is disclosed to the public“, whereas a patent is in effect only for a specified period, after which others can freely copy the invention, a trade secret does not involve registration fees, does not require compliance with formalities and does not involve disclosure of the invention to the public.  One of the drawbacks of trade secrets is that „others may be able to legally discover the secret and then use it,“ „get other patent protection for legally discovered secrets“ and a trade secret that is more difficult to impose than a patent.  U.S. software company Tiatros Inc. protects its know-how and trade secrets to ensure its competitiveness. In short, the expiration of an NOA may have the effect of terminating the trade secret status of all the information it lists. Since trade secrets can potentially last forever, an NDA covering trade secrets should generally impose confidentiality or non-use obligations that extend indefinitely (and require the return of trade secrets after the end of the NDA). When the NDA also collects information that is simply confidential but does not increase to the level of a trade secret, it may be necessary to limit in time any restrictions on confidential data in order for the agreement to be applicable. In this case, the NDA should establish a permanent obligation with respect to trade secrets and a time-limited obligation with respect to confidential information.
The biggest slip you can make with a trade secret would be to relax with your business secrecy protection, even if you have the NDA on site.