To be a trade secret or not to be a trade secret: practical considerations when protecting IP assets

When attempting to protect their inventions, companies must make a sometimes daunting decision between trade secret protection and patent protection. This dilemma often occurs at the beginning of a research and development project. Should the technology, know-how and other IP assets be protected through trade secret protection or patent protection? It is hard to predict the future, particularly in terms of optimal IP protection. How can you know for certain which aspect of the IP asset is most likely to be commercially successful, or which is more likely to be attractive to competitors in terms of knock-offs, counterfeits or competitive alternatives, when the final result may be a long way off?

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