trade secret

noun
a secret process, technique, method, etc., used to advantage in a trade, business, profession, etc.

Origin:
1900–05

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
trade secret
 
n
a secret formula, technique, process, etc, known and used to advantage by only one manufacturer

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
Perplexed is right, and all of academe knows it, but it's a trade secret.
Most are the company's trade secret, though they always include current prices
  of goods and sales data.
What is it with keeping medical information a trade secret and preventing
  others from access.
Scientific methodology, rather than being a closely guarded trade secret, is a
  freely available resource.
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