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A term used to describe saleable knowledge of techniques or special skills which have been developed within an industry for use on certain projects. This may be the result of many years of intensive research and development in the manufacture of a valuable product which industrial espionage has not succeeded in making available to competitors. An example might be the recipe for an unique beverage which cannot be sufficiently protected which cannot be sufficiently protected origin.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary , 3rd edt.