July 01, 2014

Under Many Locks and Keys: The Law of Protecting Trade Secrets

Chrissie Scelsi

On September 9, 2008, a company took extraordinary measures to protect a valuable corporate asset while moving it to an undisclosed location for safekeeping while security measures at the corporate headquarters was being upgraded. The asset was locked in a lockbox, which was handcuffed to a security specialist, and transported to the undisclosed location in an armored car. What was this valuable corporate asset—a nuclear weapon, a gold bar, a priceless historical relic? It was none of these things. It was the recipe for the 11 herbs and spices that make up Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Original Recipe Chicken. Why did KFC owner Yum! Brands such extraordinary measures to protect this recipe? The company went to these great lengths to protect the recipe because it is a type of intellectual property known as a trade secret.

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