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Illinois, Ivy Patent Law .com, STEVEN IVY P.C., law firm, patent, patent interference, patent opinion, patent license, patent assignment, trademark, copyright, trade secrets, unfair competition, post-grant review, service marks.


practice focuses on

firmly SHIELDING our

CLIENTS' confidential

technical and business


...advantages & disadvantages
About Trade Secrets Practice
Trade Secrets

Trade secrets encompass a wide scope of business-related information, from software to formulas, down to marketing and business processes. The explosive proliferation of the internet and the social media makes the maintaining of those trade secrets more challenging than even before. Our firm understands the trade secrets challenges and its complexities. We help clients to protect the vitality of their businesses by identifying protectable information and securing it under the applicable law.

Comprehensive Trade Secrets Practice

Our trade secrets practice is comprehensive in its scope, designed to help our clients not only to understand how the business information can be protected, but also, how to maintain the secrecy of information for many years to come. After all, the longevity of many businesses is dependable on the business edge that trade secrets provide. Therefore, our firm goes above and beyond to ensure that our clients understand all the benefits, and the pitfalls, of trade secret protection. Our firm works closely with our clients to help them create secret-oriented policies and to identify protectable information. In addition, the firm can efficiently document the sensitive information, negotiate and prepare agreements, provide guidance on storage and accessibility alternatives and counsel on the applicable law. No matter what your sensitive information contains, we are confident in our ability to help.

Advantages of Trade Secrets Protection

Perhaps the main reason for choosing trade secrets rights, over those offered by patents or trademarks, is the possibility of maintaining trade secrets rights indefinitely. By comparison, a utility patent protection is available for 20 years, and a design patent lasts only for 14 years. Trade secrets can cover more information than other forms of protection. Unlike patents, a trade secret is defined and controlled by you, or your organization, and you don't have to wait for anyone's approval. Which means that the right to protect your company's sensitive information exist upon creation of it, and is not dependent upon approval from the USPTO. By the same token, there is no need to prove to anyone that your trade secret is novel, or useful beyond the confines of your organization. Moreover, unlike patent information that is published and available to the general public, trade secret remains confidential. Finally, the costs of maintaining a trade secret are typically much lower than the costs associated with obtaining a patent.

Disadvantages of Trade Secret Protection

The main disadvantage of trade secrets is its absolute dependency on two factors: 1) the precautions taken by the owner to maintain its confidentiality; 2) and the resilience against reverse engineering. In short, inventions that are easily reverse engineered, should not rely on trade secret laws. Maintaining confidentiality, on the other hand, could be quite tricky. Unlike patents or trademarks, if the owner does not take some reasonable precautions to maintain the secrecy, the law will not provide any protection. In fact, the law does not prevent the public from copying inventions exposed to the public, if they are not patented, trademarked or subject to copyright protection. For this reason, our firm works closely with its clients on helping them understand the benefits and disadvantages of trade secret protection, and the necessary effort to maintain it. Contact STEVEN IVY P.C. for detail analysis of your situation.  

Federal and State Trade Secret Protections

To protect trade secrets, the federal government relies on two specific laws: 1)  the Uniform Trade Secrets Act; 2) . the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. In very general terms, both statutes make a federal crime to steal, buy, or knowingly receive and/or possess a stolen trade secret. However, legal action must be taken within 3 years of discovering trade secret misappropriation. The penalties for a violation of this statute include a potential prison term of 15 years and fines up to $5 million. State jurisdictions are not much different. Actually, most of them have similar laws on their books, in fact, many of them are based on the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Be that as it may, dealing with misappropriation of your trade secret, or any other intellectual property, could be unnerving, quite complex and time consuming. If you, or your organization, is confronting a trade secret issue, contact our office and schedule a confidential consultation - you can count on our professional help.

Nondisclosure Agreements

Theft of trade secret can be halted by court injunction (court order). The injunction can remain in force until the misappropriation is eliminated. However, before any misappropriation occurs, other legal tools could be implemented. The most common is nondisclosure agreement (or confidentiality agreement). It is a legal document that prevents disclosure of your trade secret. Our law firm specialize in creation of nondisclosure agreements. We create customized agreements, implementing provisions specifically tailored to the needs of your organization. Contact STEVEN IVY P.C. for further information on how a customized nondisclosure agreement can help your organization.

Transferring and Licensing Trade Secret Rights

Trade secrets, similarly to patents and trademarks, can be transferred or licensed to another individual or an organization. Our firm helps clients with the entire transaction. We consult our clients on the initial bidding process,  if requested, we initiate and conduct vigorous negotiations, and when the transfer is agreed upon we complete all the necessary legal documentation.  If your organization needs help with the transfer of intellectual assets, contact our office and schedule a confidential consultation - we are happy to help, and always appreciate your business.

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