Showing 9 posts in Trade Secrets.
What do Google and WD-40 have in common? They can both attribute their continued success to trade secrets. It may be relatively easy to build a search engine or an aerosol can that sprays lubricant, but it is practically impossible to replicate the success of Google and WD-40. The two companies do not have patents on their products, precisely because that would require public disclosure of how to produce the product that has made them so successful. The benefit of a trade secret is that it continues in perpetuity. Coca-Cola's trade secret for its formula is over 120 years old. If Coke had decided to patent its formula instead, the patent would have expired over a century ago and the company would not be the giant it is today.
In order to qualify as a "trade secret," the information must have economic value and must be kept confidential by the company. This can be done through legal documents, compartmentalizing information, physical and digital security, and enforcement actions against leakers of information. Tech companies should consider the use of trade secrets if a product is one that is not easy to develop independently. Software code and chemical formulas are two prime candidates. Importantly, trade secrets are governed by state law, which can vary as to confidentiality requirements. Read More ›
The toxic cocktail of chemicals in a company’s hydraulic fracturing fluid – much like Coca Cola’s secret recipe - is a trade secret.
Fracking involves pumping water, chemical fluids and sand underground into rock formations to fracture the rocks; the granular sand keeps the cracks open, thereby allowing the release of oil and natural gas from the fractured created rock veins. Read More ›
Categories: Trade Secrets
Speed Date USA, Inc. is suing the online dating company Match.com for $5.65 million for allegedly breaching its contract and misappropriating trade secrets. In essence, the lawsuit claims that Match.com terminated the contract early and then breached its obligations to hold joint events. Match.com terminated the contract, according to the lawsuit, upon learning Speed Date's trade secrets. Match.com then allegedly began to run its own speed dating events without compensating Speed Date USA.
Trade secrets are commonly defined by state statues and generally consist of four elements for the information to constitute a trade secret. The elements of a trade secret are: (i) information; (ii) that has independent economic value; (iii) which is not generally known or readily available; and (iv) such information is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. Read More ›
Lansing-based XG Sciences, Inc. has launched a new generation of anode materials for lithium-ion batteries with four times the capacity of conventional anodes. The new anode material is produced through proprietary manufacturing processes and uses XG’s xGnP® grapheme nanoplatelets to stabilize silicon particles in a nano-engineered composite structure. The material displays dramatically improved charge storage capacity with good cycle life and high efficiencies.
This is great news for applications like smartphones, tablet computers, and other products that use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. XG is working with battery makers to translate this exciting new technology into batteries with longer run-time, faster charging capabilities, and smaller sizes.
Click here for more information about this exciting development.
Categories: Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets
Crowdfunding, some would say, is the new social networking platform of raising money from people online. While crowdfunding is a relatively new term and concept, traditional principles of law still apply. Artists, startups and online creators using this new platform are governed by Intellectual Property principles.
Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the creations of the mind; and most commonly include ideas or inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols that identify your brand, names, logos and/or competitive business ideas or information. Under this broad umbrella of Intellectual Property, there are generally four categories that govern the use of Intellectual Property:
Before pitching or disclosing your concept to an online crowdfunding community to raise money these four categories of protection and the potential resulting consequences should be thoroughly examined. Failure to do so could result in the inadvertent theft, infringement or forfeiture of your IP rights. Let's take a deeper look at these four categories. Read More ›
Legislation allowing victims of trade secret theft to sue in Federal court was introduced in the Senate recently. The Protecting American Trade Secrets and Innovation Act of 2012, sponsored by Senators Herb Kohl, Chris Coons and Sheldon Whitehouse, grants companies the option of using Federal courts to bring a civil lawsuit against offenders. The proposed law helps companies maintain their global competitive edge by ensuring an effective and efficient way to recover their losses from trade secret theft. Read More ›
Categories: Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets
Intellectual property is a valuable asset for any business. Recently, on the Michigan Business Network Legal Impact Hour, Foster Swift intellectual property attorneys, Sam Frederick and Zach Behler, discussed the interplay between intellectual property and business success. Listen to podcasts of the discussion:
If you have a question regarding intellectual property, please contact one of Foster Swift's IP attorneys.
What is "intellectual property" and why should it matter to your business? At the most basic level, "intellectual property" is one of an organization's most valuable assets. Intellectual property frequently differentiates extraordinary companies from "average" organizations. For that reason, IP must be zealously protected. IP breaks down into four areas: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Read More ›
Let's take a look at a common scenario. An employee named Ted leaves a company, let's say "Company A," and goes to work for another company in the same industry – "Company B." While employed by Company A, Ted worked on key projects and had access to and developed many new and creative concepts. When Ted joins Company B, he implements many of the new and creative concepts he helped develop while working for Company A. Company B later commercializes some of these concepts developed and brought over by Ted. Company A then sues Company B, claiming misappropriation of trade secrets. A trade secret, of course, is any information that has economic value because it is not generally known to the public and is subject to efforts to keep the information secret. This scenario is common - the characters in the real life saga of Mattel v MGA Entertainment are not. Read More ›