Archive for December, 2015

Protecting the Protectable

Posted: December 14, 2015 by Bill Cunningham in Uncategorized

Robin-miller-BlogIn today’s competitive marketplace, startup companies look to gain an economic advantage however possible. Not everyone plays fairly – so, for those who do, it has become increasingly important to protect proprietary business information.   The law provides two ways to protect this information: patents and trade secrets. While certain types of information can only be protected with patents and other types of information can only be protected as a trade secret, many types of information can be protected by both. A company must choose the best protection under the circumstances. Choose carefully – because patents and trade secrets are not created equally. When safeguarding your confidential information, the cost, the time it takes, the length of the protection must be weighed against the overall reason for protecting the information.

Patent protection. A patent can only be obtained by filing for protection with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The steps required to even attempt to get a patent could be cost prohibitive for smaller companies – a simple patent application and fees can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. Once you file the application, it can take years before the patent ever issues – if the application is even accepted. In the end, this investment may not be worthwhile because patents are only good a limited number of years. After the patent expires, the information is no longer exclusive to the patent holder and competitors can gain access to it. If the goal is to derive exclusive, indefinite economic benefit from the information, process, or procedure, then trade secret protection may better suit your needs.