May 25, 2016

“The Business of IP: Choosing Between Patents and Trade Secrets,” IP Watchdog, May 25, 2016

In the field of Intellectual Property (IP) attorneys have options when counseling clients on how to protect their IP. However, these options remain subject to constant forces…

But before an attorney decides how to counsel a corporation on how to best protect its IP, she should examine the business data. Will the company commercialize solutions based on the IP in an aggressive manner? Or will it sell the offering in a more consultative approach? These remain a couple of questions a lawyer needs to ask, especially if she is an in-house practitioner.

Concurring in this opinion about manufacturing processes, Bryan Wheelock, registered patent attorney and principal, Harness, Dickey & Pierce, also sees the applicability of trade secrets remaining greater for product formulas than patents.

“For inventions that cannot be readily reverse engineered—for example product formulas—an inventor should consider maintaining the invention as a trade secret,” Wheelock says. “A trade secret is of potentially infinite duration—consider if John Pemberton had patented his formula for Coca-Cola back in 1886, rather than keeping it secret.”

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