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SECRET. That which is not to be revealed.
2. Attorneys and counsellors, who have been trusted professionally with the secrets of their clients, are not allowed to reveal them in a court of justice. The right of secrecy belongs to the client, and not to the attorney and counsellor.
3. As to the matter communicated, it extends to all cases where the client applies for professional advice or assistance; and it does not appear that the protection is qualified by any reference to proceedings pending or in contemplation. Story, Eq. Pl. Sec. 600; 1 Milne & K. 104; 3 Sim. R. 467.
3. Documents confided professionally to the counsel cannot be demanded, unless indeed the party would himself be bound to produce them. Hare on Discov. 171. Grand jurors are sworn the commonwealth's secrets, their fellows and their own to keep. Vide Confidential communications; Witness.
SECRET, rights. A knowledge of something which is unknown to others, out of
which a profit may be made; for example, an invention of a machine, or the
discovery of the effect of the combination of certain matters.
2. Instances have occurred of secrets of that kind being kept for many years, but they are liable to constant detection. As such secrets are not property, the possessors of them in general prefer making them public, and securing the exclusive right for years, under the patent laws, to keeping them in an insecure manner, without them. See Phil. on Pat. ch. 15; Gods. on Pat. 171; Dav. Pat. Cas. 429; 8 Ves. 215; 2 Ves. & B. 218; 2 Mer. 446; 3 Mer. 157; 1 Jac. & W. 394; 1 Pick. 443; 4 Mason, 15; 3 B. & P. 630.