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The Relative Merits of Patents and Trade Secrets to Protect Inventions
  • By: Christopher Peil
  • Published: August 1, 2018

Businesses that create a lot of intellectual property can face uncertainty about how to best protect their inventions from misappropriation by competitors. On the one hand the patent system provides a path to obtaining meaningful if constrained protections that competitors cannot ignore. On the other hand, choosing to treat an invention as a trade secret offers a significant benefit—secrecy—while imposing other limits on how the invention can be used. There are some useful principles to help businesses decide whether to pursue a patent or stick with the trade secret approach. Patents offer an exclusionary but public defense Someone who is unfamiliar with the way technology is developed could be excused for thinking that the chief goal of every innovator is to produce a big portfolio of patents. After all, a…Read More

  • By: Christopher Peil
  • Published: July 1, 2018

Defending a patent against infringement requires diligence and care. Keeping tabs on the marketplace for infringement can itself be a time-consuming and difficult effort, especially when a patented invention is hard to detect without extensive analysis. Once an infringement is identified, the patent owner should move quickly to put a stop to it. In many cases a properly worded cease-and-desist letter, or patent notice letter, can be enough. If the infringement doesn’t stop, the notice letter can be a useful tool in the ensuing litigation. The role of the patent notice letter A patent notice letter is often the best first step for protecting a patent against infringement. A properly drafted letter at a minimum identifies the owner’s patent, describes in detail the infringing products, provides the patent owner’s contact…Read More

Strategies for Developing a Strong Trademark
  • By: Christopher Peil
  • Published: June 1, 2018

A trademark is much more than a symbolic representation of a business. It is imbued with the value a business invests in nurturing and promoting its brand. Each customer that learns to associate a trademark with a business’s work further enhances the mark’s worth. Businesses should treat their trademarks like any other valuable asset. Among other things, that means taking steps to develop the strength of their marks. Defining what it means for a trademark to be strong What does it mean to say that a trademark is “strong”? The answer to that question comes from the two purposes served bylaws against trademark infringement. The first purpose is consumer protection. A trademark is supposed to reliably identify the source of goods or services that consumers encounter in the marketplace, so…Read More

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