Trade Secret Asset Management Benchmarking

Trade secrets constitute an important part of a company’s intellectual property portfolio and they are generally any practice or process not known outside of the company. Specifically, for a practice or process of a company to be considered a trade secret it must fulfill three criteria:
  • it must be secret (i.e. not public information),
  • it must provide an actual or potential economic advantage for the company,
  • it must be actively protected (i.e. the company exercises reasonable measures to maintain it as a secret).
Some examples of trade-secret include scientific processes, formulas, product blueprints, algorithms, raw or processed data, software, manufacturing processes, customer lists, financial information, market research studies, internal costing and pricing information, etc.

Trade secret asset management is about the policies and procedure, processes and systems, education and governance defined and taken into use to help manage such assets. Simply deciding to keep something secret is not sufficient.

Participant Information Sheet

Research Overview
This survey is part of ongoing research investigating the misunderstood world of trade secrets. The aim of this survey is to gain a better understanding of how trade secrets are managed and shared within collaborative work environments. This survey follows ethical good practice and is in line with General Data Protection Regulation (2016)

What does this survey involve?
The survey will consist of 10 sections with questions related to:  
Training, protection methods and management of trade secrets
Nature of trade secrets (there will be no questions pertaining to specific trade secrets)
Sharing, distribution and protection of trade secrets within collaborative environments
General questions regarding your company and your role in the company and any intellectual property responsibilities pertaining to your role.
Each section will consist of scales or ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions with a few open-ended questions. 

What are the benefits of taking part? 
In addition to providing information to help address the lack of knowledge in this area, you have the option to receive a free benchmark report. The purpose of the benchmark report is to help your company identify internal opportunities for improvement regarding trade secret management, training and protection.

How long will this survey take?
Approximately 10 - 15 minutes

Do I have to take part?
No – it is entirely up to you. If you do decide to take part, please read the GDPR and complete the Consent Form below to show that you understand your rights in relation to the research, and that you are happy to participate.

Can I withdraw once I have begun the survey?
Yes, if you are uncomfortable with any aspect of this survey or you decide you do not want your data to be used for publication, please contact the researcher. You are free to withdraw your information from the project data set at any time until any personal information (only your email is requested) are fully anonymised in our records (within 6 months after the benchmark report is given). The lead researcher will take responsibility for personal data destruction and all collected data will be destroyed on or before September 2025.

About the Researcher
Dr Nicola Searle is the principle investigator of this project and an EPSRC Digital Economy Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) at Goldsmiths, University of London. The research is Funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Council (EPSRC), Grant Reference EP/P005039/1

If you wish to contact the researcher about any aspect of this survey, please contact or the address provided below:
Dr Nicola Searle
Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship,
Goldsmiths University,
SE14 6NW