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High technology industries are industries involved in the research, development, and production of advanced, highly specialized and sophisticated technology. Examples of high tech industries include computer hardware and software, lasers technology, communication, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries. These industries have products or services that are primarily the embodiment of intellectual property, and high tech markets are characterized by rivalry based on research and innovation. In comparison to traditional heavy industries like steel and oil, high technology industries exhibit a rapid and high rate of change.

Companies in high technology fields need to be aware of the means available to protect the information and inventions they create. Intellectual property lawyers keep up to date with the technical and legal fields and can advise companies of the best ways to protect their intellectual property.

Much of the research and development in high technology industries involves trade secrets. A trade secret is information with commercial value that is kept confidential. Trade secret rights are present upon the creation of the idea in a concrete form. The trade secrets are protected as long as confidentiality is maintained. In fast-paced industries, maintaining competitiveness may depend on keeping information confidential. For example, a biotechnology firm that is developing a new method of implanting genes into seed corn to make it more resistant to disease may treat this method as a trade secret so that its competitor does not learn the method and become the first to market the corn. Trade secrets can be established by the explicit conduct or agreement of the parties. Thus, in this example, the company probably had its scientists sign agreements in which they promise not to disclose confidential information to people outside the company.

Once a high technology company has developed a product, it likely will patent the product so that it has the exclusive right to use and sell it. If the corn is patented, the seed corn developer would be the only company that could produce it for the period of the patent. The process for developing the new seed corn also may be patentable.

Learn More: Reasons to Contact an Intellectual Property Attorney

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Reasons to Contact an Intellectual Property Attorney

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