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Trade Secrets in the Intellectual Property Strategies of Entrepreneurs: The Estonian Experience

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For more content, see Review of Socialist Law.

Secrecy is a traditional method of knowledge protection. The protection and management of trade secrets has high strategic relevance for small transition economies. As the majority of Estonian entrepreneurs are SMEs in low-tech sectors, the implementation of adequate trade-secret protection strategy is vital. There are several advantages to trade-secret protection. First, the scope of trade-secret protection can be extensive and includes non-patentable knowledge. Second, it does not require the registration or fulfilment of any formal procedures.

The Estonian high-tech sector also relies on trade-secret protection. Concentration of activities in a low- or high-tech sector only determines whether entrepreneurs combine patent and trade-secret protection or whether they are solely dependent on trade-secret protection.

The enhancement of entrepreneurial skills to manage trade-secrets is crucial. Despite the high strategic relevance of trade secret protection, Estonian entrepreneurs do not, yet, seem to have the necessary capabilities to leverage trade-secret protection. A similar situation can be detected in other Baltic states. Therefore, the main focus of this article is on the exploration of how to control and utilize trade secrets in the value creation process by entrepreneurs in the Estonian legal and economic environment through appropriate economic and legal strategies and relevant legal implementation and protection measures. The authors analyze theoretical and practical issues concerning trade-secret protection, argue their own concepts and put forward several proposals.


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