When to Choose Trade Secret Protection Over a Patent

January 2011

IAM magazine

It may be surprising to some that when a company comes up with a new idea or development that it wishes to use in its business, there are likely to be a number of ways to protect it. In many instances, either patent protection or trade secret protection; can be obtained.
The nature of the idea or development determines which is the better way to secure protection.

This chapter focuses on some of the differences between patent and trade secret protection, and highlights the matters to consider when deciding which protection to pursue. In some limited circumstances, as will be discussed below, it may be possible to have both patent and trade secret protection for different aspects of the same idea or development. However, in general, the protections are mutually exclusive. A valid patent requires disclosure of how to make and use the invention, including the best-known mode of doing so. The trade secret rights will then be lost when the patent application is published.

This article was first published in IP Value 2011. To view the entire publication in full, please visit IAM Magazine.

Overview

January 2011

IAM magazine

It may be surprising to some that when a company comes up with a new idea or development that it wishes to use in its business, there are likely to be a number of ways to protect it. In many instances, either patent protection or trade secret protection; can be obtained.
The nature of the idea or development determines which is the better way to secure protection.

This chapter focuses on some of the differences between patent and trade secret protection, and highlights the matters to consider when deciding which protection to pursue. In some limited circumstances, as will be discussed below, it may be possible to have both patent and trade secret protection for different aspects of the same idea or development. However, in general, the protections are mutually exclusive. A valid patent requires disclosure of how to make and use the invention, including the best-known mode of doing so. The trade secret rights will then be lost when the patent application is published.

This article was first published in IP Value 2011. To view the entire publication in full, please visit IAM Magazine.

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