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How to Keep the Lid on your ‘Secret Sauce’

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For decades, companies have turned to the patent system to protect their inventions. Patents provide broad protection by granting an effective monopoly against competitors for 20 years—a monopoly that often survives the effective shelf-life of the invention in the marketplace. The tide, however, is undoubtedly changing. Patents in key sectors such as software are becoming more difficult to obtain and protect. Many believe the patent system is under assault in light of the newly created patent office inter-partes review procedures, numerous attempts by US Congress to curtail patent enforcement, and the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp v CLS Bank. Given this perceived uncertainty, many companies are turning to trade secret protection to guard their intellectual property. Should your company be following suit?

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