Are trade secrets patentable?
1.Legal requirements for patent protection differ from trade secret protection. "Trade secret" means any method, technique, process, formula, program, design, or other information that can be used in the course of production, sales, or operations that can also meet the following three requirements: (1) it is not known to persons generally involved in the information of this type; (2) it has actual or potential economic value due to its secretive nature; and (3) its owner has taken reasonable measures to maintain its secrecy. In other words, to qualify for legal protection, a "trade secret" must be secret and have economic value and its owner must have taken measures to protect it. On the other hand, the purpose of the patent system is to protect inventions while encouraging patent applicants to make their technology public. To obtain patent protection, it is necessary to file an application with the competent authority. The application will be examined and a patent will be issued only if the legal requirements for patents are met. 2. Protecting trade secrets means preventing public disclosure of the technologies or methods involved, so no registration procedure is required and there is no limit on the protection period. This differs from patent protection, which requires an application for registration and the public disclosure of the content of the patent. If an application is filed for patent protection of a trade secret, the trade secret will no longer qualify as a "trade secret," because its content will be made public in the patent application process, and so will no longer be "secret."
- Publish Date : 2008-04-24
- Update : 2022-09-15
- Organization : International Legal Affairs Office
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