Closely Guarded Trade Secrets
- The Secret Recipe That Refreshes
According to many, the formula for Coke is the most famous trade secret of them all. When Coke, at the end of the 19th century, decided not to patent its formula, it did so for one reason: to keep it secret, forever. In May 2006, a Coke employee and two others were charged with stealing and trying to sell guarded Coke secrets to Pepsi. Pepsi notified Coke of the breach and the FBI was called in.
- WD-40's Secret Formula
The formula for WD-40 is locked in a bank vault and has only ever been taken out of the vault twice -- once when they changed banks and once on the CEOs 50th birthday. The CEO rode into Times Square on the back of a horse in a suit of armor with the formula. The company mixes WD-40 in a concentrated form in three locations -- San Diego, Sydney and London -- and then sends it to aerosol manufacturing partners.
- What's So Special About the Sauce?
In 2004 McDonald's acknowledged that they had lost the recipe for the Big Mac special sauce. As it turns out, McDonald's changed the original special sauce recipe to cut costs and lost the original. When a returning exec wanted to return to the original special sauce, no one could find the recipe. The exec remembered the name of the California company that supplied the sauce 36 years ago. They still had the sauce in their record books, and McDonald's was able to recover the recipe. (Source: Newsvine.com)
- The Colonel's Handwritten Recipe... Locked Away
Only two KFC executives know the finger-lickin’ recipe of 11 herbs and spices. A third executive knows the combination to the safe where the handwritten recipe resides. Less than a handful of KFC employees know the identities of the three executives, who are not allowed to travel together on the same plane or in the same car for security reasons. After being locked in a safe for 68 years, Colonel Harland Sanders’ handwritten recipe was temporarily relocated to a secret-secure location as KFC modernizes its safekeeping. It was transported in an armoured car and high-security motorcade.
- Candy Bar Espionage
Cadbury and Rowntree, the two largest British candy firms, sent so many moles to work in competitors' factories that their spying became legendary and inspired Dahl's 'Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.'
- Listerine's Litigious Past
One of the most famous trade-secret licensing deals was struck in 1886 between J.J. Lawrence, the maker of Listerine, and the Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. By 1956, Lambert had paid more than $22 million in licensing fees to the Lawrence family. The trade secret, however, had been made public years earlier, and Warner-Lambert [now Pfizer Inc.] decided that fact voided the earlier agreement. The U.S. courts disagreed, ruling that royalty payments on Listerine should continue because the company had gained a clear advantage in the marketplace by getting the formula first.
- A Doughnut with Cajun Roots
Krispy Kreme got its start in 1937 when Vernon Rudolph bought a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe from a French chef from New Orleans.
- Twinkie Facts
Steve Ettlinger, the author of "Twinkie, Deconstructed," counted 39 ingredients in the popular treat, and contrary to popular belief, they do not last forever. But a Twinkie can last weeks, maybe even months. According to Ettlinger, when doing the research for his book, Interstate Bakeries Corporation, the company that makes Twinkies, didn't exactly cooperate with his research. (Source: ABC News)
- Google Data Centers
Up until May 2008, the inner workings of Google's data center operations were shrouded in secrecy. But then Google's Jeff Dean shed some light on parts of the operation to an overflowing crowd at a Google I/O conference. Google didn't reveal exactly how many servers it has, but estimates are easily in the hundreds of thousands. It did reveal that it uses more-or-less ordinary servers -- processors, hard drives, memory. (Source: CNET News)