Water powered weaving machine. Performed work done by hundreds of artisans. Allowed British to command world textile trade. American cotton had to be shipped to England where it was woven into cloth, and then resold to American merchants.
The story of NRB Textiles & Johnston Industries…
NRB + Johnston lawsuit: Competitor paid 2 consultants (posing as research student + Swiss investor) $500,000 for info on customers, suppliers, and manufacturing operations of 9 textile companies.
Used stolen information to lure customers away after first reducing prices.
Also introduced a fabric very similar to one manufactured by Johnston and then marketed it to Johnston's customers.
1. Market life of the subject matter Some products have commercial life of only a few months Patent typically takes 25m to be issued Patent protection may not exist until after market life of the product has expired TS allows immediate commercial use
2. Difficulty of maintaining the subject matter secret
Time, willingness and funds to:
Develop internal policies
Implement protection program
Initiate immediate legal action to protect trade secrets from disclosure (preliminary injunction)
Risk of disclosure number of persons needing access to the TS
Need for investors
3. Likelihood of subject matter being reverse engineered
Easy to control RE?
Products widely sold to consumers difficult to prevent RE P
Products sold to limited number of persons control, e.g. license agreement which forbids RE and requires licensee to maintain the technology secret TS
Difficult/expensive to do RE?
Secret manufacturing method or formula difficult TS
Secret embodied in product easy (e.g. raw material) P