Intellectual Property is one of the most prized possession of any business. However if you are a small business protecting it might be a challenge. There are several reason for this,but the biggest one is financial. Patenting inventions is extremely expensive starting at $530 just for filing and processing the patent, with further $300 in early publication fee. The cost of trademark registration is lower but it still begin at $275 and goes up from there. While the legal benefits resulting from registration are clear and undeniable, if you’re not able to pay the fees or your creation can’t be patented, then it’s an excellent idea to look at the alternatives.

Keep your Idea as a Trade secret Instead

Keeping your patent ideas as tradesecret can be viable alternative if it concerns a particular process or procedure that can be kept confidential and cannot be reverse engineered. Tradesecrets can be protected indefinitely, so long a they remain secrets. Coca-Cola is one of the best examples; the beverage formula was never patented, but it remains protected due to the secrecy surrounding it. And none of Coca-Cola’s competitors have ever managed to imitate its unique taste. But keep in mind that trade secrets have limitations. Unlike copyrights, trade secrets do not protect you if someone does manage to reverse-engineer your product or develops the same product or procedure independently.

Claim Trademark Protection without Registering it

You don’t have to register your Trademark to claim protection. When you use the symbol TM, after your company’s slogan, for example, you are communicating that its trademarked. Of course, you can only trademark if it is unique, so do a thorough trademark search first. Publishing ideas and publically using the symbol TM, creates some historical evidence of your ownership of trademark, but if you ever need to defend your trademark against an infringement, it is best to have your own trademark officially registered with the USPTO.