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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 34541
Experience:  12+ yrs. of legal experience.
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how do I know when working at a company, what documents or

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how do I know when working at a company, what documents or material is officially intellectual property or trade secret? would the documents need to have some kind of markings or any kind of identification that it is considered trade secret or intellectual property?
Thanks for the chance to help with this. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

Great question...the answer is that there is not any sort or required marking for intellectual property. A company can copyright material (this involves applying to the federal government for copyright protection) or can apply for a trademark (for a particular brand) or a patent (if the material is suitable for patent). If this has happened you may see evidence of the branding or copyright (the TM symbol or "circle c" symbol).

But this is not always required. For example, it is possible for a company to generate intellectual property (like, for example a book, computer code, art, etc) and not apply for copyright protection. Copyright law will protect ownership regardless of copyright protection is sought.

But back to the question, if a company produces intellectual property (or, employees of the company produce intellectual property while working for the company) the company retains ownership of that property. They are not required to "mark" it...though they may well do so, depending on company policy. But whether or not they mark it will not impact their ownership rights at all


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Ok got it, does this also apply to trade secret? If the company is showing all of its detailed information of its products on line for the general public to see, does that information become available as not a trade secret?

A "trade secret" is defined as

'a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, or compilation of information which is not generally known or reasonably ascertainable, by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers."

SO the key part of this definition is "not generally known or reasonably ascertainable"

An example, the formula for coca cola.


So your question

If the company is showing all of its detailed information of its products on line for the general public to see, does that information become available as not a trade secret?

The answer is that information is no longer considered a trade secrete. It MAY be subject to copyright or patent...but it is not a trade secret.


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