While your small business is thriving because of the product you developed, you may be aware that your intellectual property may be the most at-risk asset you have, which is why you keep the construction instructions secret.
You have become aware that a competitor has made an almost-exact duplicate of your best-selling product.
Your trade secrets may be one of your most valuable assets
If you did not have the product you have, your business may not be as successful as it is. This makes your instructions for its creation extremely valuable.
It may be time to legally enforce your intellectual property rights. What your competitor did is called “infringement.” You are going to have to file a lawsuit, which may give you relief through an injunction filed in the court.
By stealing your trade secrets, a competitor threatens to do irreparable harm to your business
You may be aware that your competitor may cause a major loss for your business. If their product gets onto store shelves, your profits may suffer.
You may be able to convince your competitor to agree not to market or sell their product. If your efforts are not successful, you may need to take stronger action.
Are your trade secrets eligible for patent protection?
They may be. Filing for patent protection may have drawbacks. Patent protections are time-limited. Trade secrets are not, as long as the creator keeps the development information secret.
Placing a trade secret under patent protection may require compliance with several processes. Not placing your product under patent protection may make it vulnerable to discovery by competitors. It is much more difficult to enforce protection on a trade secret.