Dear Rich: How are trade secrets made official? Do you have someone sign a NDA? Here's how you create a trade secret: (1) you think something up that will give your business an advantage (2) you keep it to yourself and hide it from others, and (3) if you need to tell someone you make sure that person is bound not to disclose it under the terms of an enforceable agreement (or under a law--for example, most states bar employees from disclosing an employer's trade secrets). There are a few other common sense requirements but that's basically it. The real test of your trade secret program occurs if someone steals your secrets or violates an NDA. For more info, check out this website we created about trade secrets.