Michael Hess’s advice to individual inventors suffices as a checklist for organizations considering keeping an invention under wraps under trade secrets protection vs. filing for a patent.
- Is it worth the cost of patenting? Ultimately, a proper valuation will determine this. Trade secrets can be monetized (see BVR’s Licensing Trade Secrets), so there has to be value added in the patenting process.
- Can you afford the time and money to seek a patent?
- What will be the effect of revealing your invention to your competitors, even if revealing “best mode” will no longer be an enforceable requirement?
- Do you have the willingness and wherewithal to defend a patent? If you don’t, the value is greatly diminished.