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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hi, I’m J.D. Houvener, your host of the Bold Today Show, where you, the inventor, entrepreneur, business owner, get your daily dose of inspiration to make the world a better place. Happy Friday! This is the fifth part of a series, all about making money in the patent world, and we’ve talked a lot about enforcement, licensing, patent publications through defensive publications, and outright sales of patents. So, if you had patent rights, which option would you pick? Tell us why in the comments below.

Alright, this is what I’ve been waiting for. This is the fifth way for patent holders or those that are innovating to make money on patents, and it’s a secret – keeping things as trade secrets, not filing patents at all. It’s an incredibly lucrative way to make money, but you’ve got to make sure you work with a trusted advisor to ensure that what you’re keeping secret is not reverse-engineered when you deliver it to the customer.

Think about some of the most famous trade secrets of all time – Coca-Cola’s trade secret, the KFC master chicken recipe, even things like M&Ms. The flavor oftentimes comes in the form of a recipe, but it can come in perfumes or different types of chemical applications and methods that, no matter what you did to try to figure out how it was done, you couldn’t do it. There’s no reason, although you could seek that protection for these types of chemical mixtures, whether it be through liquids or solids or amalgams, is patent-eligible, but you wouldn’t want to do it because remember, with patents, they’re only good for 20 years after the date of filing. You keep a trade secret; it can last as long as you keep it secret.

There are three major requirements for having a trade secret and making sure that it’s enforceable against a misappropriator – it’s a fancy word for infringing. A trade secret must not be readily ascertainable, it must be economically valuable to a competitor, and you must be able to prove that you’re making efforts to keep that trade secret confidential.

So, those three – work with an advisor to make sure that what you’ve got inside your company stays there. That’s the most important part about a trade secret – working through your employees to confirm that they’re keeping everything confidential.

If you’re interested in learning more about trade secrets or about patentability, please get ahold of us through our website at We’re happy to have a 30-minute consultation with you to figure out all those questions you might have about the subject. And it’s been my pleasure guiding you through this week to talk about different ways that patent holders and innovators make money. I’m your host J.D. Houvener, the Bold Today Show. Have a great weekend! Go big, go bold.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at