Should I obtain a patent
or keep my idea as a trade secret?
Patents and trade secrets each come with trade-offs. As a general rule, if your intellectual property can be reverse engineered, you probably need the protection of a patent, which gives you the exclusive right to use or license your invention and act against infringers.
However obtaining a patent also means that your invention will be publicly disclosed, and it will be free for anyone to use when the patent expires.
A trade secret may theoretically be held forever, but it is only as good as the ability to keep it truly secret.
A notable example of a trade secret is the formula for Coca-Cola, which has never been reverse engineered and has been kept secret for over a century.
Whether to opt for a patent or keep a trade secret is a choice best made with the assistance of an experienced intellectual property lawyer such as those at Chernoff, Vilhauer.
Creating a better mousetrap is one thing.
Protecting it is another.
The information contained on this webpage is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. To discuss a legal issue or obtain legal advice please contact an attorney in our office.