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Report reveals growing importance of trade secrets



James Nurton


At least one in five companies have suffered trade secret theft, and 82% of executives say trade secrets are an important, if not essential, part of their business according to a new report

The report, The Board Ultimatum: Protect and Preserve, was published by Baker McKenzie in association with Euromoney Institutional Investor Thought Leadership, which is part of the same company as Managing IP.

It is available to read online.

It suggests that trade secrets more important for businesses in the digital economy, but that many companies aren't taking basic steps to protect them.

Based on a survey of 400 executives across five industries, the report found:

  • 82% of respondents said their trade secrets are an important, if not essential, part of their business.
  • 46% of financial services executives said they consider their trade secrets to be essential to their corporate strategy.
  • 61% of respondents said protecting trade secrets and IP is a board-level issue.
  • 20% of companies said they have had trade secrets stolen. Another 11% said they didn't know if they had or not.
  • 33% of healthcare executives said they have suffered trade secret theft.
  • 32% said respondents said theft by former employees was the greatest threat to their trade secrets.
  • Only one-third of companies maintain inventories of their trade secrets and have action plans for responding to theft.


The report also includes a case study of Schott, interviews with trade secrets specialists, updates on trade secrets legislation in the EU, US and China, and advice on what companies need to do.

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