The enforceability of restrictive covenants, particularly non-compete agreements, can be very difficult for employers to navigate, especially for companies in their “start-up” phase. Technology companies in particular face challenges in…
Continue Reading A Non-Compete Law Roadmap for Tech Start-Ups in Key Jurisdictions
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Continue Reading Demystifying Legal Diligence in Tech Deals
The Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act, M.G.L. c. 149, § 24L, has been the law of the Commonwealth for almost four months. The statute only applies to agreements entered into between…
Continue Reading Impact of New Massachusetts Noncompete Law on Emerging Tech Companies
Most startup entrepreneurs spend a significant amount of time creating business plans, product development plans, marketing plans, etc. However, startups often neglect one of the most important aspects of planning…
Continue Reading How Startups Can Avoid Costly IP Mistakes
As an emerging technology company, maintaining an edge over your competitors may depend to a great extent on choosing the right strategy for intellectual property (IP) protection. The question is…
Continue Reading To Patent or Keep Secret? That Is the Question
As an emerging tech company, trade secrets and other confidential information can provide you with competitive advantages in the marketplace. However, as your business grows, the need to protect critical trade secrets is sometimes overlooked. Unfortunately, failure to take reasonable measures to safeguard this information may result in the inability to protect these valued assets when necessary.
Emerging tech companies can gain an advantage in protecting their trade secrets by taking a systematic approach to:
- understanding their trade secret portfolios;
- evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing policies and procedures being used to protect these valuable assets; and
- implementing corrective measures to protect trade secrets from misappropriation and misuse.
For companies without existing policies and procedures, conducting a comprehensive trade secret audit may be beneficial as well.
Two of the most important requirements of patentability are that the invention must be novel and non-obvious at the filing date of the patent application. In the United States, the prior sale, prior use or public disclosure of the invention by the inventor or others may affect your ability to obtain a valid patent. Inventors may inadvertently jeopardize their ability to successfully apply for or be granted a patent by disclosing any information about the invention to the public, and thus, may fail to meet the requirement of novelty and/or non-obviousness.
Additionally, when you disclose an idea to the public, you risk waiving related trade secret as well as patent rights. Trade secrets are only enforceable when you have taken steps to ensure they are—and will remain—secret. Although an inventor has up to one year from a public disclosure to file a patent application in the U.S., it is strongly advised that an inventor first take precautions to protect all IP, or risk losing all IP rights. In the new U.S. first-inventor-to-file system, it is even more important to be savvy about disclosure – or you risk that another inventor could file a patent application before you.…
Continue Reading Understanding What to Keep Secret