To Patent or Keep Secret? That Is the Question

Using patent and trade secret protection together in a synergistic manner results in potent patent protection, yet despite the ease of obtaining trade secret protection, it is often not exploited to full effect.

As an emerging technology company, maintaining an edge over your competitors may depend to a great extent on choosing the right strategy for intellectual property (IP) protection. The question is what kind of protection do you actually need, and how do you go about getting it? Two types of IP protection that most tech startups will want to consider are patents and trade secrets. Each offers different types of protection with distinct benefits and risks, so you will need to decide which path is right to meet your business goals.

Is Patent Protection the Right Option for You?

Patents can provide broad protection for invention and innovation.  They can cover almost any novel aspect of a technology, including hardware, software, compositions, materials, and business methods.  Patents can also be obtained on improvements to existing technology—the innovation need not be radical or revolutionary in order to be patentable, merely new and not obvious.  Many innovations developed by an emerging technology company can likely be patented, and patenting those innovations can create significant advantage in the marketplace.

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