Coca-Cola never patented their “secret formula” because they would have to reveal it to the public if they did.

Does formula mystery help keep Coke afloat?

London (CNN) — Coca-Cola — the world’s ubiquitous brown fizzy drink — is staying afloat as the soda market shrinks, and many point to a marketing strategy around the so-called “secret recipe” as key to its resilience in a struggling industry.

The Coca-Cola Company, which published its full year result Tuesday, recorded a 5% drop in net income to $8.6 billion last year, down from $9 billion in 2012, as it faced “ongoing global macroeconomic challenges,” according to its chief executive Muhtar Kent.

Volume grew 2% for the year, which it said was “below our expectations and long-term growth target,” with sparkling beverages recording a slight increase of 1% — led by Coca-Cola.

Globally, soda drink sales have been shrinking as c… Continue Reading (4 minute read)

11 thoughts on “Coca-Cola never patented their “secret formula” because they would have to reveal it to the public if they did.”

  1. 10001maniacs

    I worked at a popcorn company that did this with their butter oil machines. If you don’t patent it and keep it a secret no one may ever know it exists.

  2. vervatosvex

    For anyone other than coca-cola, the recipe is worthless. Why coca-cola succesful is because their branding, no one can easily copy that.

  3. ClnHogan17

    This is very common in industry, called a trade secret. A patent will generally protect your invention for 20 years, granted in exchange for you telling the world how to do something. Patents cost money to get and can be very expensive to defend. You want to use one of your invention is valuable enough and you think it could be reverse-engineered.

    Coke’s formula is a trade secret, not protected by anything. If the formula got out, anyone could make it. But then they’d have to market it and beat coke at the industry game against all of Coke’s economies of scale. With all of the colas out there, would it really matter if some off-brand had a perfect copy, or even something superior based on millions of blind taste tests? If I named my product ‘I copied Coke’ I wouldn’t be able to outsell at half the price and I’d have trademark troubles.

    On a related note, a number of years ago a disgruntled Coke employee stole the formula and tried to sell it to Pepsi, but Pepsi turned him in and he went to prison https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSN2323386320070523

  4. UncleDan2017

    Just out of curiosity, that means anyone can copy their formula, right? You’d think in this day and age of reasonably priced spectroscopy it wouldn’t be that tough.

    Also, hypothetically, let’s say someone else takes a “coke-like” approach. What’s to stop a second party from claiming the person not patenting their formula are violating the second parties patent?

  5. TheWrongFusebox

    That’s because it still contains 5G transmitters, just like in the good old days.

  6. ElectricMeatbag

    Didn’t Coca Cola also hire death squads to murder Union leaders ?

  7. obscureferences

    Sugar. In water.

    More.

  8. eskimoexplosion

    The actual secret ingredient is marketing

  9. HandsomeJack15

    Where’s plankton when you need him, I bet Sheldon can get in that vault

  10. pjx1

    I thought you couldn’t patient a recipie?

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