In today’s world of free information, there are still people and companies that hold valuable pieces of information that are not freely available to the public.
Even though science has advanced to a degree where a competitor company can just reverse engineer a product, some companies still hold their own by holding secrets that make them exclusive in the market.
The recipe of Coca-Cola
There was a time in the 1970s when the Indian government asked Coca-Cola to submit their list of ingredients so that they could open operations in the country.
Coco Cola refused and didn’t come for a long time until Indian government changed the rule.
Only two executives know the formula and it is very fiercely guarded by keeping it under lock in the Sun Trust Bank in Atlanta.
The classic trade secret case of Listerine – the mouthwash
How can a mouthwash so widely used, be a secret? It is, or at least, Pfizer thought so when it acquired its formula in 1880. For the next 70 years, it paid Dr. J.J. Lawrence, the inventor, royalty payments.
But in the middle, they go to know that the secret of this famous mouthwash is actually out there in the open. So they sued the Lawerence family, but the court threw out the case, saying that the other companies acquired the formula by legal means.
So, technically, the mouthwash is still a secret, even though it isn’t.
Stock market trading software that helps financial institutions by predicting stock market trends
Stock market software are extremely valuable. Most of the top financial institutions have their trademarked software, which they use to invest smartly and make huge gains in the process.
The access to such software is highly regulated, and one such computer programmer lifted some lines of this code and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
The results of Academy Awards is known only to two accountants 48 hours in advance
Since the time the Academy Awards have started, there has been no leak about the information of winners, even though it is not computerized yet.
The ballots that contain the votes are handled by two executives of PriceWaterHouseCooper auditors. They count each vote by hand and note down the numbers on paper by a pen.
Then they each take half the results in two separate suitcases and are escorted to the venue by LAPD police officers.
The New York Times Bestseller List
No one knows how The NYT comes up with their bestseller list. The simplest explanation would be that they count the number of copies the book has sold from the various bookstores. But this is not true. There have been cases where the book hasn’t sold a lot of copies but has still made it to the list.
How they make the list is a well-kept trade secret, because if the publishers come to know how they make the list, they could use this data to make the book more adept at making into the list.
The recipe of KFC spices is known to only two people in the world
Just like with Coca-Cola, only two KFC executives know the secret recipe of the spices used in the famous fried chicken everyone around the world eat.
The recipe is guarded in a facility that sounds like it is made to guard a treasure. The facility has 2 feet thick concrete walls, round the clock surveillance, armed guards and unique PIN codes for the two executives who can open it only when both of them are present there.
To go even further to keep it a secret, not all the spices are mixed in one place. Half the spices are mixed in one location and then this mixture is taken to another location to be mixed fully so that no one knows all the spices that are present.
The recipe to Hershey’s bar, the first sweet chocolate bar, has been a trade secret for 100 years
When chocolate was manufactured in the past, it was always dark chocolate, and hence, it was not as popular as the chocolate we eat nowadays. It was bitter and sweet and had the popularity akin to coffees.
It was in 1900 that the first Hershey’s milk chocolate was formulated, where the dominant taste was sweet and not bitter.
This made the whole population love chocolate as we love it today. The formula to this sweet chocolate bar is still a secret, although many other companies have come up with their versions of sweet chocolate. Hershey’s still remains to have a unique taste among competitors.