Your (trade) secret’s safe with me
Coca-Cola keeps its top-secret recipe locked in a vault. Kentucky Fried Chicken invested in a James Bond–style digital safe that weighs more than 770 pounds in order to keep Col. Sanders’ original handwritten recipe safe and sound. These heavily guarded formulas are known as trade secrets, and they extend to much more than the food industry.
From technology algorithms and code to R&D activities and supplier identities, your most valuable information and company secrets may also be your most vulnerable. And yet, many companies completely overlook this essential step in their intellectual property strategy. I’ll help you uncover what you need to protect and how to protect it.
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TRADE SECRETS, DECODED
A trade secret has to be …
- Something that’s essential to your business and gives you an edge over your competition, but isn’t known to people outside your business (and even then, only a select few may know it or have access to it)
- Something worth keeping a secret
- Kept secret (and you need to have a paper trail documenting all the measures you’re taking to keep it that way)
As your intellectual property counsel, I’ll guide you through a Trade Secret Audit process to help you identify what trade secrets you might have and how best to keep them secret.
An invention can only be patented by being publicly disclosed, while a trade secret, by definition, has to be kept secret. A trade secret could, in theory, be protected forever as long as no one spills the beans. A patented invention can only be protected for 20 years.
Imagine if everyone in the world could replicate the refreshing taste of Coke? Protecting that which gives you a distinct competitive advantage is essential to keeping your edge and being the only one who can offer what you offer.
Aside from keeping your most valued secrets and assets away from the competition, getting trade secret protection is vastly cheaper and faster than going through the patent process. In addition, trade secrets are now protected under federal law, making it easier to keep your trade secret protected nationally and internationally.
International IP Protection
If you need to take your IP business plan or strategy international, I’ll collaborate with foreign firms to make sure your patents, copyrights, trademarks, and domain names are legally protected anywhere and everywhere.