Know-how relates to any unique knowledge or skills associated with a particular process or product that has commercial value and which gives a business an advantage over its competitors. It either does not satisfy the criteria for patenting or the owner/inventor wishes not to disclose it for strategic reasons and it is thus kept as a ‘Trade Secret’.


It can be a formula, practice, process, instrument, pattern or compilation of information which is not generally known. Protecting know-how is dependent on formal non-disclosure agreements between all relevant parties involved. Know-how can be licensed through a licence agreement.