Jorda on : Initial Patent/Trade Secret Evaluation Guide

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A reoccurring question in intellectual property management involves the initial election between seeking patent protection on a given development and attempting to maintain trade secrecy in that development. To facilitate this initial election and to determine the center of gravity (often patents for products and trade secrets for processes), I developed the following “Initial Patent/Trade Secret Evaluation Questionnaire.” To avoid the implications of “invention” and to cover the wide variety of innovations which may be addressed by this questionnaire, the term “development” is used in a generic sense.

Download the Questionnaire and Considerations

The eleven questions in this questionnaire have been arranged not in the order of perceived importance but by “function,” roughly following the areas of marketing (Questions 1-4), technical (Questions 5-8), and legal (Questions 9-11). Each question would be answered on a scale of 1 to 10. These values are then totaled. With the current number of questions, this sum would range from 11 to 110. If the sum approaches the higher end of the scale (above 75), trade-secret protection would seem favorable; a sum at the lower end (below 45) would suggest that patent protection would be more advantageous. At times, values in the middle range (45–75) will result. Such a score suggests that it doesn’t really matter which approach is followed initially. For example, trade-secret protection might be appropriate for manufacturing-process technology, which competitors might find easier to re-create; patents make sense for products that can be analyzed or reverse engineered. However, there need be no prejudice about resorting to the other strategy to protect collateral aspects and improvements.

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This page contains a single entry by Jon Cavicchi published on November 15, 2007 11:00 AM.

Jorda on : Exploitation of the Overlap Between Patents and Trade Secrets is Paramount was the previous entry in this blog.

Protection of Software via Patents and Trade Secrets is the next entry in this blog.

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