Sought-After Trade Secrets

When a company has a distinctive product, it’s going to want to protect it from copycats. While you might think that’s what a patent is for, it’s actually not. Trade secrets are not patented, and without a patent you don’t have to make public the ingredients, components, or manufacturing methods. Here are the trade secrets of some major products that you have likely bought and may even have in your house right now.


Thomas English Muffins
How the company puts craters on the bread’s surface that hold tiny pools of melted butter is a trade secret that’s well protected. In fact, only 7 people worldwide know the secret of the “nooks and crannies.”

The formula for Coca-Cola is one of the go-to examples of a trade secret. According to a representative from the company, the original formula is written on a piece of paper stored in a bank vault. Only “a small handful” of people know the formula at any time.

Dr. Pepper
Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too? That won’t be happening because of the famously secret formula for Dr. Pepper, which is made from 23 natural and artificial flavors. Only three people are said to be privy to the recipe, which is kept locked in a vault in company headquarters.

The world’s best known household lubricant got its name in 1953 and it stands for “Water Displacer- 40 attempt.” The formula is in a bank vault and has only been taken out twice — once when changing banks and again on the product’s 50th birthday. The company has, however, revealed what’s NOT in the secret formula: silicone, kerosene, water, graphite, or chlorofluorocarbons.

Who hasn’t wondered what KFC’s “secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices” includes? The recipe is kept under lock and key is a safe in Louisville, KY. To prevent anyone from having the complete recipe, one company blends part of the spice recipe, and another company mixes the rest.