Do I need to have a patent to protect my inventions?

Sometimes, businesses try to protect their inventions by keeping ideas and methods a trade secret and ensuring no-one else knows about them. For example, the coca cola recipe is a strictly guarded trade secret. Also see the BBC website article in respect of Irn-Bru. Attempting to protect your ideas, however, by keeping them secret, may be unsuitable. For example, a newly improved mechanical device, such as a folding ladder, is unsuitable for protection this way because as soon as one ladder is sold, the invention is seen.

Even with inventions which could be protected by way of keeping them secret the protection is still relatively fragile and requires stringent in house procedures to ensure the risk of the information becoming public is minimal. This will not however prevent other businesses using similar techniques; they just will not know yours. A patent would give a monopoly over that invention however arrived at.

Last update on 28.09.11 by the ACID Team.

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