What are the pros and cons of trade secret protection?

| May 14, 2021 | Trade Secret Litigation |

When it comes to the ideas and procedures that make your business unique, you want to do everything in your power to protect them. There are plenty of options available if you wish to do this, too.

Some choose to file for patents. Others aim for trademark or copyright protection. Trade secret protection is also an option. As with any other choice, it has both potential benefits and drawbacks, of which you might face either.

The benefits of trade secret protection

The World Intellectual Property Organization discusses the benefits and potential drawbacks associated with this form of asset management. As far as the positives go, trade secrets do not have registration costs. On the other hand, the work you do to keep this information confidential may end up costing you a lot regardless.

Trade secrets also go into effect immediately. On top of that, you do not need to publicly disclose a trade secret. You also do not need to comply with formalities in the way you must when working with patents. Finally, trade secret protection does not expire. It lasts indefinitely, as long as the public does not know about the trade secret.

Potential associated drawbacks

However, it is possible for others to reverse engineer your trade secret. If they do this, nothing stops them from legally using it. Likewise, if someone leaks the trade secret and it reaches the public, you can no longer protect it. Trade secret protection does not protect your rights as the exclusive owner.

It is also harder to enforce its protection than patented works. After all, it only extends to the illicit acquisition of information. It is also harder to license and sell trade secrets compared to patents due to their secret nature. In the end, you must decide if the pros outweigh the cons.

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