Amid this high-speed race, the attention that companies give to protecting their trade secrets can mean the difference between success and failure. It’s why an IT company will go to great lengths to safeguard its software algorithms, a life science company will conceal its early testing procedures, and an e-commerce firm will closely guard its supply chain and logistics techniques. To better understand the role trade secrets play in today’s digital age, Baker McKenzie partnered with Euromoney Institutional Investor Thought Leadership to examine how the leaders of multinational companies view their trade secrets, who they see as the greatest threats to those secrets, and what they do to protect them.

Drawing on the survey responses of 404 senior executives across five industries, we found that these executives place great importance on trade secrets. In fact, half said their trade secrets were more important than their patents and trademarks. Even more (69%) said they foresee trade secret protection becoming more critical than safeguarding other types of intellectual property given the rapid pace of tech innovation. However, our survey results also revealed that companies are not taking basic steps to preserve their trade secrets, reflecting a disconnect between the level of importance that corporate executives place on this type of intellectual property and what their companies are actually doing to protect them.
Driven by the furious pace of technological advancement, companies across industries are engaged in an unprecedented race to innovate. To win business, companies must not only be smarter, quicker and more agile in their approach to innovation, but also transform how they protect the very innovations that define them.