Sponsored by Kelly/Warner Law:
Are you trying to get a startup off the ground? Do you have an original process, formula or thing that’s your business’ “ace in the hole”? If yes, then take a moment to consider how trade secret law can protect your genius and lead to increased profits. How so? Check out the 7 facts below.
1. If your invention or unique creation is not eligible for a patent, trade secret laws can still offer great protection.
Many business innovations aren’t patentable. However, if you’ve developed a process, formula or “thing” that affords you an economic advantage over competitors, and it’s confidential to your operation, it may qualify as a trade secret.
2. In comparison to patents, trade secret protection is an easy-to-acquire, inexpensive alternative.
Getting a patent can be pricey; it’s also a long process. Trade secrets, however, don’t require formal registration and are immediately effective.
3. Trade secret laws offer indefinite protection.
Patents last for a finite amount of years. Trade secrets are everlasting. Until the owner discloses it publicly, a trade secret is protected by law.
4. Trade secrets can be many different things.
This includes information such as formulas, patterns, methods, techniques, algorithms, and the like. Abstract ideas, no matter the type, are protected as valuable trade secrets.
5. Total, absolute secrecy is not required.
As long as the information is known to be confidential, employees or others who would normally be entrusted with business information can be privy to the secret. Non-disclosure agreements are a common tool used to establish confidentiality of a trade secret.
6. In certain circumstances, misappropriation of a trade secret can be a federal crime.
The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 addresses issues of criminal trade secret misappropriation.
7. Trade secrets can sometimes be used as a marketing point.
Having a trade secret can afford a business a certain amount of “fame” as well, which can be beneficial for a startup business project. (Think: Google’s algorithm)
Almost any valuable, secret information can qualify as a trade secret. Use the appropriate laws to safeguard your business.
Check out the infographic from Kelly/Warner Law to learn more about trade secrets.