Research report 2018 - Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
From guild to AI: the renaissance of trade secrets
Immaterialgüter- und Wettbewerbsrecht
SummaryEvery innovation starts with a secret. Every formula, technical improvement, or new algorithm is first protected by secrecy – firms are not compelled to disclose their knowledge. The current era of Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI) has seen a resurgent interest in trade secrets, particularly because a firm’s competitive advantage is increasingly based on data. Data as such, however, cannot be protected by patents or other intellectual property rights. But how and to what extent should trade secrets be protected by law, and how can this protection be regulated?