Many companies would benefit by treating their confidential information more often as trade secrets rather than only or primarily seeking patent protection. That was the main theme of the presentation “The Orphaned Asset: Trade Secrets as a Much Neglected Corporate Source,” held March 3 at the Grand Hyatt Taipei under the sponsorship of AmCham Taipei’s Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee. The speaker was a leading authority on trade secrets: Dr. Richard L. Thurston, head of the Taipei office of the law firm Duane Morris LLP and former senior vice president and general counsel of TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.).
The advantages of a well-managed trade-secret program within a company’s IP portfolio include:
- Saving the considerable expense involved in patent filing and maintenance.
- Enjoying coverage in perpetuity, whereas patents are for a limited period.
- Gaining flexibility, as the content of trade secrets can be continuously updated or new trade secrets added.
The strengthening of Taiwan’s Trade Secrets Law in recent years has made this option a realistic choice. But companies must do their part by signing non-compete and non-disclosure agreements with key employees and implementing effective internal controls to ensure that trade secrets are well protected.
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