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Trade Secret or Patent -- The Choice is not Always Simple

In this fiercely hostile economy, maintaining an edge is critical to the success for many businesses in practically all industries. Intellectual property rights present some of the most effective tools for creating and keeping such an edge. Among the most effective tools are patent and trade secret rights. They present multiple opportunities for creative strategies and cost-effective long-term protection of various proprietary technological and business information. However, there are significant differences in how these rights operate and the benefits they offer. Although a thorough review of the differences between such rights would require a much longer discussion, this article addresses some of the key distinctions. Not every type of information is capable of being protected by either patent or trade secret rights. However, sometimes, if the subject information constitutes an invention, it may be capable of being protected through both trade secret rights and through patent rights, although not at the same time.

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©2020 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume III, Number 212

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About this Author

Greenberg Traurig's Intellectual Property & Technology Practice has more than 200 full-time intellectual property attorneys and professionals serving clients across the United States and in key business centers around the world. We handle all aspects of intellectual property, including patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and right of publicity litigation; trademark prosecution and brand management; copyright and DMCA agent registration; patent prosecution and portfolio management; licensing; inter partes review...

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