- Published: 15 January 2020 15 January 2020
By James L. Kwak, Partner, Standley Law Group LLP
Standley Law Group LLP receives many calls each month from inventors interested in seeking patent protection for their new ideas. Many of these callers have never applied for a patent and they have many questions about the process. The following FAQs and responses answer many of the questions first-time inventors have.
1. What are the ways I can protect my invention?
Generally, the ways to protect an invention are to: 1) file for a patent; or, 2) keep it as a trade secret. In some situations, a trade secret is not an option because the product will be in the public domain or it is easily reverse engineered. In other words, trade secrets only protect ideas that can be maintained in secrecy (e.g., a recipe, manufacturing process, etc.) Trade secret protection, however does not protect against the independent development of the invention by others. Patents do protect against any unauthorized use of the invention, whether the infringer copied the invention or independently developed it. For this reason, patents are generally considered the best way to protect new inventions.