Many people all across the country recognize the company 3M for their many engineering marvels and incredible, inventive products. But for any company in 3M's position, in order to retain this reputation in the marketplace, defending their products, processes and patents is essential. You don't become a successful company without entering into litigation at some point to defend yourself and your ideas.
Have you ever considered why certain companies or products are successful? This isn't an easy question to answer, but one common aspect among successful businesses and companies is that they have something unique about them. Maybe a part of the product is unique; or the production process is unique; or the methodology behind a product is unique. These things, and even the more intricate details or aspects of these things, are called "trade secrets," and protecting them is vital to any company that wants to succeed.