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Episode 19: Patents vs. Trade Secrets

Working with Laptop — Howell, MI — The Patent Baron

Download file | Play in new window | Duration: 32:06

When to file, when to keep secrets…

In this podcast, I discuss with my co-host Tom Nixon the differences between patents and trade secrets. Most people have an idea of the differences but if you’re curious about some of the finer points, then download and listen. I am a registered US patent attorney with over 15 years of experience both in-house and in private practice. Prior to that I was an automotive engineer involved in testing and design & development of automotive components.

Patents and trade secrets each have their pros and cons. Patents are publicly available “instruction manuals” and that fact should be taken into consideration when seeking patent protection. Oppositely, trade secrets are not publicly disclosed (at least that is the intention) but care should be taken as it is increasingly difficult to keep information secure. To paraphrase Ben Franklin: “Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead”.

Business Owner — Howell, MI — The Patent Baron

We discussed:

  • Patent and trade secret pros and cons
  • The risks and advantages of filing a patent application
  • How patents and trade secrets can work together to secure your ideas
  • Examples of patents and trade secrets and lessons to be learned from them

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