As technology gains importance in almost every marketplace, businesses must understand the costs and benefits of different strategies for protecting intellectual property. Some forms of protection, including patent protection and trade secret protection, overlap. Knowing when to protect business information as confidential and when to use the information through patent procurement is key to managing and optimizing such assets. Our attorneys are experienced in the relative strengths and weaknesses of patent versus trade secret protection that can help determine whether to maintain an invention as a trade secret or seek a patent.
A trade secret is confidential business information that has economic value because it is not widely known, ranking trade secrets of some businesses among their most valuable assets. As intellectual holdings that offer a competitive advantage, trade secrets take a variety of forms, including technical information, formulas, laboratory and research data, innovations, designs, programs, processes, financial data, product plans, and a list of actual or potential customers or suppliers.
Our registered patent attorneys work hard to stay closely involved with both our clients’ technology and their businesses. Our goal is to assure that our clients make well-informed legal decisions about trade secret protection and patent protection. We actively counsel large and small companies in establishing and strengthening trade secret protection programs, including measures related to the information itself, employees and third parties.
Our deep, broad technical knowledge allows us to effectively communicate with key individuals to ensure that valuable trade secret assets are properly protected and continue to provide competitive advantage. We are experienced in electrical and electronics technology, software systems, mechanical arts, medical devices, and chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnologies.
We are regularly involved in a wide range of corporate transactions in which trade secret protection is important. Our attorneys have played key roles in such transactions, including licensing, mergers, acquisitions, public offerings and private equity/venture capital investments for a variety of industries. Our experience and close work with clients’ businesses, enable us to provide in-depth insight into risk assessment in transactions involving trade secrets and in developing strategies for minimizing risks. From identifying trade secrets to confidentiality agreements and joint development contracts to transfer of critical know-how, our goal is to provide a comprehensive framework for maximizing the value of all business information.
Our experience in protecting technology and business through patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets uniquely qualifies us as a leading provider of litigation services for these often inter-related business assets. Our trade secret litigation practice includes attorneys who concentrate solely on intellectual property matters, trial attorneys with substantial litigation experience and attorneys with substantial technical knowledge in a variety of fields. Our size, experience and wealth of technical knowledge also allows us to represent clients in litigation regarding trade secret protection and misappropriation involving any technological area.
Because commercial exploitation of trade secrets is closely linked to their possible use by company employees, thorough management of employee activities is critical to protection of trade secrets. Our patent and labor and employment attorneys regularly collaborate to provide clients with comprehensive approaches to employment contracts, non-competition agreements and other employee procedures to assure the maximum protection of assets. Whether the need is by a start-up or a mature business, a joint-venture, a closely-held enterprise, or a multi-national Fortune 50 company, this collaboration among practice groups positions us to provide the strongest possible protection of trade secrets for a business.