Michael D. Moberly – October 12, 2023

Trade secrecy can deliver returns, but it’s essential that business leaders, management teams, boards, and investors be very clear about ‘what it means to and ‘how it will translate’ when particular intellectual and/or structural capital (intangible) assets are precipitously declared or designated as trade secrets, absent relevant prerequisites.

Declarations – designations of trade secrecy evoke fiduciary obligations and represent strategic planning, etc., to, among other things, safeguard those assets, mitigate risk to same, and monitor those assets’ contributory roles and value to a business, innovation, R&D project, etc.

I discourage trade secrecy being conceived (portrayed – framed) as a tactical or circumstantial scheme to reap a presumed near-term benefit, e.g., elevate valuation, attract investment, obfuscate previous indifference, defend against loss or devaluation, or be used as an ex post facto maneuver to mitigate a glaring financial risk. Experientially, each is frequently transparent and seldom produces a laudable, sustainable, or unchallengeable outcome.

Trade secrecy declarations – designations are obliged to be strategically conceived and executed as prudent, relevant, useful, and ‘mission essential’ components to and outcome of a business’s and/or an innovation’s commercialization – monetization plan, which can/will deliver desirable – sustainable – admirable returns.

Providing sufficient – consistent guardianship for the intangible assets designated as ‘trade secrets’ entails relevant and reliable safeguards, monitoring, and risk mitigation specific to ‘all which have been designated as a trade secret’, i.e., forms, contexts, and applications of the underlying and foundational intellectual, structural, and relationship capital in play.

Well executed trade secrecy plans and durable – sustainable strategies can favorably shape and influence (business, product, service, innovation) branding, valuation, competitive advantage, revenue generation capability, resilience, commercialization sustainability, investment attractivity.

Fundamentally, it’s important to recognize that trade secrecy designations can deliver both objective and subjective value for a business, its innovation, and/or R&D, e.g.,

  • objective value in the sense that the ‘sustainability – durability’ of a trade secret can influence business – innovation continuity, endurance, stability, and permanence, etc.,, via undisturbed contributions to ‘mission essential’ process, procedure, and/or operation.
  • subjective value in the sense that valuation follows – flows from retaining those intangible assets in a secret – proprietary state.

Trade secrecy is not an extraordinarily complex, cumbersome, burdensome, or costly process.  It can be executed internally as collaborative – congruent ‘sets actions’ (recognitions, processes, procedures) which, among other things, are designed to mitigate the asymmetric – keystroke speed materialization – cascading effects of risk which target specific and valuable intangible assets which a business relies – depends most.

The importance which an entrepreneurial business – innovation center attaches to recognizing, differentiating, safeguarding, and mitigating risk to its proprietarily developed, held, applied, and relied, forms of unique intellectual, structural, and relationship capital (intangible assets) should never be disparaged, deferred, delayed, or dismissed, rather prudently and repeatedly considered.

The ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ is experientially researched, written, and produced by Michael D. Moberly to provide readers with reliable perspectives and nuanced insights to distinguish, value, and safeguard particular – business things intangible designated as mission essential.  This blog’s 1,100+ posts is searchable to accommodate – reflect reader questions and interests.

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