The patent laws in America are federal in nature, and protect design and utility patents. New, original, and ornamental inventions are protected by design patents (and rarely call for litigation) while new, useful, and “non-obvious” inventions are protected by utility patents. These could be electrical, mechanical or chemical; or cover data transmission, interface, encryption techniques; information processing and retrieval; e-commerce platforms and payment systems and other business methods; and other patentable (by being clearly different from existing technologies) inventions. An inventor gets to enjoy the fruits of the invention for 17 years from the day it gets granted.
Some recent patents worthy of mention include:
Business entities whose trade secrets provide them with an essential edge against the competition are justifiably anxious to protect them against any infringement, whether by departing employees who plan to start an identical venture by drawing upon the knowledge as we as experience gained or get lured away by competitors for this very purpose.
Some of the essential steps to guard against such an eventuality are discussed here, which may have to be revised or modified according to the advances in uses of technology:
Put the policies in place: Let all employees be aware of the particular information which the business considers to be confidential, what constitutes proper as well improper use of it, where it can or cannot discussed, ways in which it has to be protected and the means provided for the same – which must be used as prescribed, and the consequences of transgressing such restrictions by setting it out in detail and informing every single employee.
By incorporating all the above practices and any others that may be specially required to suit the particular needs of the business, an entity will be able to establish its claim to bring a suit against possible violation. This is required because the onus of proof lies with the entity to show that the information incorporates a trade secret, and that it has taken all reasonable and possible precautions to preserve the necessary secrecy, and that the defendant breached a confidential relationship to misappropriate secret information, using improper means.
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