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The pros and cons of protecting an invention as a trade secret

New inventions have served as the foundations of countless successful businesses, both in Las Vegas and throughout the country. Many executives who are charged with protecting these inventions may be drawn to trade secret classification, as this category of intellectual property protection is very accessible. However, trade secrets also have disadvantages, and corporate management may want to consider these before committing to any final decisions.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, trade secret classification carries distinct benefits and drawbacks. The nuances of these can become very important should a business dispute related to intellectual property arise.

One benefit of choosing trade secrets is that there is no time limit on exclusivity; as long as a trade secret is kept confidential, the business’ control over its use will not expire. In addition, companies do not need to apply for, or register trade secrets. This makes them somewhat easy to establish and maintain.

Trade secrets also have significant drawbacks. As noted by the World Intellectual Property Organization, once a trade secret has been released to the public the company loses its exclusive hold over the invention. In addition, trade secrets do not provide as much legal protection as other types of intellectual property, such as patents. This means that in situations requiring lawsuits, trade secret litigation may not provide trade secret owners with the results they desire.

In-house inventions play a central role in many business’ corporate strategies, and decisions regarding the protection of these innovations can have substantial consequences. Because of this, executives may find it beneficial to gain a full understanding of their options, as this can provide them with insight into relevant issues that may arise in an intellectual property dispute or related business litigation.


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