"Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property that comprise formulas, practices, processes, designs, instruments, patterns, or compilations of information that have inherent economic value because they are not generally known or readily ascertainable by others, and which the owner takes reasonable measures to keep secret. In some jurisdictions, such secrets are referred to as confidential information."
Abstract of a paper titled "The Law and Ethics of Trade Secrets: A Case Study":
"Almost every business owns proprietary information that adds value and provides a competitive advantage because the information is not known to the business's competitors. Trade secret law protects such information from theft or unauthorized disclosure. Because one of the principal policies underlying trade secret law is the maintenance of standards of commercial ethics, trade secrets are a rich source of material for exploring questions of business ethics alongside the law. This pedagogical case study offers a means to examine the legal and ethical issues involving the protection and misappropriation of trade secrets within the business environment."