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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

getting back a secret?

today, i heard someone compare the decss legal mess on trade secrets to the formula for coke, which, of course, is a classic trade secret.

i’m paraphrasing here, but the statement was made that in the interest of business, and of consumers, who obviously want coke to be available, the formula must be protected. and even if someone were to “get the formula” that coke should have the ability to “get it back” to protect their secret, their business model and their consumers.

my question is (and this is a classic observation of knowledge and human nature), how, precisely, do you propose to “get back” a secret? disinformation? fud? neuralyzer? even hollywood was forced to bring in the “deneuralyzer” to make a sequel. it can’t be done. (and a quick tour of the web reveals that many, many people think they have the formula for coke).

now, there’s a lot to be said for coke keeping their formula secret, but that hasn’t (and shouldn’t) stop people from trying to “out-coke coke” – be it pepsi, new coke, or opencola. this is, after all, one of the ways that progress is made. (new coke, of course, is evidence that even with access to the trade secrets, you can screw up in dramatic form.)

posted by roj at 9:21 pm