Intellectual property refers to ideas that can be considered “owned” by either an individual or a company and are therefore able to be protected under the law. Such property includes inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Intellectual property typically falls under one of the following categories: patents, trademarks, and copyrights. However, there is a fourth type: trade secrets.
Trade secrets can include a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process. For something to be classified as a trade secret, it must be used in business and also provide an opportunity to obtain economic advantage over other competitors who either are not aware of the secret or do not use it in their practice.
As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a party to the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual-Property Rights (TRIPS), the United States is obligated to provide protection for trade secrets.
Under law, nations that are members of WTO and TRIPS, must provide a means for protecting information that is secret, commercially valuable because it is secret, and also subject to reasonable steps to keep it secret.
While there are legal statutes in place to protect trade secret holders, that protection is limited. A trade secret holder is only protected from unauthorized disclosure and use which is referred to as misappropriation.
Therefore, if a trade secret holder fails to maintain the secrecy, or if the information contained in the trade secret is independently discovered, becomes released, or otherwise becomes generally known to the public, that protection as a trade secret is lost. Trade secrets do not expire so protection will continue until the trade secret is discovered or lost.
Trade Secret Protection
Trade secret protection is meant as a complement to patent protection. And unlike trade secrets, patents are able to protect a patent holder from independent discovery as well as the need to maintain secrecy.
Patent law is part of intellectual property law and is protected under U.S. federal law. Patent law is the area of law that deals with an inventor’s exclusive right to use their own invention. Patent law protections aim to encourage the creation of new products and inventions through granting creators the legal right to use and profit from the inventions they create.
United States patent law is a part of U.S. federal law that comes directly from the United States Constitution as well as from federal laws passed early in United States history.
Working with an IP Attorney
Working with an IP attorney is the best way to create a strategy that will protect and maximize the value of your trade secrets. Your business information is sensitive and needs to be protected. We will determine that information is best protected under trade secret law or under patent protection. From there, we will create systems and procedures to ensure that your sensitive business information remains legally protected as trade secrets or under patent protection, and that it is guarded against loss or theft.
We can help you:
- identify, map, and develop your need for IP protection;
- assess whether proprietary information should be protected under patent, trade secret, or other form of intellectual property law;
- create and enforce best practices as to maintaining the value and secrecy of trade secrets;
- design and implement information security plans, procedures, and policies to protect trade secrets from misappropriation and loss; and
- manage, license, and realize the value of your IP portfolio.
Trade Secret Protection or Patent Protection
Deciding on either trade secret protection or patent protection is dependent on the invention and business considerations. You will want to work with an IP attorney to weigh out the relative benefits of each type of intellectual property protection available to you.
Having prepared, filed, and prosecuted trade secrets and patents, our firm is highly respected for its knowledge and patent prosecution.
Reilly Intellectual Property Law Firm
Reilly Intellectual Property Law Firm provides patent services to protect the inventions that change and shape our world. We handle handles patents, trademarks, copyrights and licensing legal services in Denver. Our experienced attorneys provide strategic guidance, patent counseling and prosecution, new product clearance and licensing, as well as counsel regarding patent enforcement and how to avoid possible infringement issues.
Our patent attorneys actively and aggressively represent plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of proceedings before courts both domestically and internationally. We provide solutions that anticipate our client’s need to protect their intellectual property so that their business thrives. We would love to work with you to develop a dynamic strategy that addresses your patent, trademark, copyright, and licensing concerns.