The most infamous of all trade secrets in America is the recipe for Coca-Cola's Coke. At the end of the 19th century, Coca-Cola had a choice: Patent the recipe for its popular soft drink, which would mean disclosing its ingredients, or brand it a trade secret and keep things under wraps. Execs chose the latter route. Part of the reason might have been because the recipe contained a small amount of cocaine, a fact the company may have wanted to keep to itself. Whatever the reason, its decision has had repercussions.
Since its invention, there have been numerous rumors about Coke's ingredients, including one that said the recipe contained bugs. Another rumor says two employees each know just half of the recipe, and only two people know the combination to the safe where it's stored. "Over the years, the rumors have taken a life of their own," says Scott Testa, assistant professor of business at Cabrini College.
Despite its stringent security measures, in 2006 a Coca-Cola employee and two accomplices tried to sell the Coke recipe to Pepsi, says Testa. To its credit, Pepsi promptly notified Coke officials, and the group was busted.
For more on trade secrets, some of these famous brands and other related topics, head over to the next page.
More Great Links
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- Bintliff, Jim, as told to Jonathan Berr. "Joy in Mudville: MLB teams can't get enough of Lena Blackburne's secret substance." CNNMoney.com. Aug. 20, 2008. (Nov. 8, 2011) http://money.cnn.com/2008/08/19/smallbusiness/lena_blackburne_mud.fsb/index.htm
- DailyFinance. "Closely-Guarded Trade Secrets." (Nov. 8, 2011) http://www.dailyfinance.com/photos/closely-guarded-trade-secrets/3657285/
- Ettlinger, Steve. "What's in a Twinkie?" ABC News Video. Sept. 18, 2007. (Nov. 8, 2011) http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Video/playerIndex?id=3270151
- Gould, Emily. "'Times' Mystified By Definition of Best-Seller." Gawker.com. May 14, 2007. (Nov. 8, 2011) http://gawker.com/260182/times-mystified-by-definition-of-best+seller
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- Joseph, Jim. Author of "The Experience Effect." Personal interview conducted via Joseph's publicist. Oct. 29, 2010.
- KFC. "History." (Nov. 8, 2011) http://www.kfc.com/about/secret.asp
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- NOLO. "Trade Secret Basics FAQ." (Nov. 8, 2011) http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/faqEditorial-29099.html
- Quinn, Gene. "Trade Secret." IPWatchdog. Dec. 27, 2007. (Nov. 8, 2011) http://ipwatchdog.com/tradesecret/
- Santa Clara University School of Law High Tech Law Institute. "Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) about Trade Secret." Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. (Nov. 8, 2011)
- Stein, Mitchell. Partner, Silver & Freedman law corporation. Personal correspondence. Nov. 3, 2010.
- Testa, Scott. Assistant professor of business, Cabrini College. Personal interview conducted Nov. 1, 2010.
- The Wall Street Journal. "More than Squeaking By." May 23, 2006. (Nov. 11, 2011) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114835056149060280.html
- Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. v. John J. Reynolds Inc. 178 F. Supp. 655. University of Connecticut. Nov. 16, 1959. (Nov. 8, 2011) http://web.archive.org/web/20080720101348/http://www.law.uconn.edu/homes/swilf/ip/cases/warner_lam.htm
- Watson, Bruce. "Shhh: 10 Make-or-Break Trade Secrets." DailyFinance. July 4, 2010. (Nov. 8, 2011) http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/company-news/shhh-ten-make-or-break-trade-secrets/19531854/
- WD-40. "Fascinating Facts You Never Learned in School." (Nov. 8, 2011) http://www.wd40.com/about-us/history/
- WD-40. "Frequently Asked Questions." (Nov. 8, 2011) http://www.wd40.com/faqs/
- Wilf, Steven. "An Introduction to â€¦ Intellectual Property." University of Connecticut Law School. 2010. (11-1-10) http://web.archive.org/web/20080509145755/http://www.law.uconn.edu/homes/swilf/ip/
- Wolf, David. Intellectual property lawyer, Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C. Personal correspondence, conducted Oct. 28, 2010.
- World Intellectual Property Organization. "What is a trade secret?" (10-26-10) http://www.wipo.int/sme/en/ip_business/trade_secrets/trade_secrets.htm
- WREG. "Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut." Dec. 3, 2009. (Nov. 8, 2011) http://www.wreg.com/shows/krispykremerecipe,0,2160344.story
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