Open Secrets

Document Type

Book Chapter

Book Authors/Editors

Rochelle C. Dreyfuss, Katherine J. Strandburg, eds.


Edward Elgar Publishing

Publication Date



The law of trade secrets is often conceptualized in bilateral terms, as creating and enforcing rights between trade secret owners, on the one hand, and misappropriators on the other hand. This paper, a chapter in a forthcoming collection on the law of trade secrets, argues that trade secrets and the law that guards them can serve structural and institutional roles as well. Somewhat surprisingly, given the law’s focus on secrecy, among the institutional products of trade secrets law are commons, or managed openness: environments designed to facilitate the structured sharing of information. The paper illustrates with examples drawn from existing literature on cuisine, magic, and Internet search.t