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horak.
Attorneys at Law Hannover
Lawyers
Patent Attorneys
Georgstr. 48
30159 Hannover (Headquarter)
Germany
Fon +49 511.35 73 56-0
Fax +49 511.35 73 56-29
info@ipde.de  
hannover@ipde.de
 
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Attorneys at Law Berlin
Lawyers
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Wittestraße 30 K
13509 Berlin
Germany
Fon +49 30.403 66 69-00
Fax +49 30.403 66 69-09
berlin@ipde.de
 
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Attorneys at Law Bielefeld
Lawyers
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Herforder Str. 69
33602 Bielefeld
Germany
Fon +49 521.43 06 06-60
Fax +49 521.43 06 06-69
bielefeld@ipde.de
 
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Attorneys at Law Bremen
Lawyers
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Parkallee 117
28209 Bremen
Germany
Fon +49 421.33 11 12-90
Fax +49 421.33 11 12-99
bremen@ipde.de
 
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Attorneys at Law Düsseldorf
Lawyers
Patent Attorneys
Grafenberger Allee 293
40237 Düsseldorf
Germany
Fon +49 211.97 26 95-00
Fax +49 211.97 26 95-09
duesseldorf@ipde.de
 
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Attorneys at Law Frankfurt/ Main
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Mainzer Landstraße 50
60325 Frankfurt
Germany
Fon +49 69.380 79 74-20
Fax +49 69.380 79 74-29
frankfurt@ipde.de
 
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Attorneys at Law Hamburg
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Colonnaden 5
20354 Hamburg
Germany
Fon +49 40.882 15 83-10
Fax +49 40.882 15 83-19
hamburg@ipde.de
 
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Attorneys at Law Munich
Lawyers
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Landshuter Allee 8-10
80637 Munich
Germany

Fon +49 89.250 07 90-50
Fax +49 89.250 07 90-59
munich@ipde.de
 
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Attorneys at Law Stuttgart
Lawyers
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Stockholmer Platz 1
70173 Stuttgart
Germany
Fon +49 711.99 58 55-90
Fax +49 711.99 58 55-99
stuttgart@ipde.de
 
horak. 
Patent Attorneys Vienna
 
Trauttmansdorffgasse 8
1130 Vienna
Austria
Fon +43 1.876 15 17
Fax +49 511.35 73 56-29
vienna@ipde.de

 

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Know-how

What is know-how?

Secret business and technical facts can be generally described as know-how. Know-how exists as long as the fact in question remains secret. The advantages of know-how include the following: no direct costs are connected with know-how, its “duration of protection” is unlimited and the content of know-how can be a competition advantage. As an important disadvantage, know-how does not grant any monopoly rights, and therefore serious legal difficulties might occur in case of a conflict, which would not occur in the case of registered protective rights.

How can know-how be protected?

Technical know-how can in principle be protected by means of a patent, which – in some countries, for instance the USA – would also be possible in the case of  business know-how. Since patents or similar protective rights are published and therefore made known to the general public, and since their period of validity is limited, there has always been a need to keep secret certain technical or economic facts, i.e. know-how.

At the same time, however, know-how needs to be transferred, which requires a comprehensive non-disclosure contract with a recipient of know-how, since popular know-how can be used by third parties without any subsequent constraints. When know-how is to be exploited commercially, the non-disclosure contract is of central legal importance. Therefore, contractual penalties are usually high enough to deter from disclosure.

Can know-how be protected after the protective right has expired?

Since protective rights are published, they cannot be protected by means of know-how. A protective right does not typically comprise all know-how relating to one matter. Therefore, after the protective right has expired, know-how contracts play an especially important role in maintaining a position on the market.

What do we need to protect your know-how?

The central aspect of know-how protection concerns the non-disclosure contracts with all persons to whom know-how is to be disclosed to. Therefore, we need a rough description of the know-how and of the limitations concerning its disclosure.

If already existing know-how is to be transferred to third parties, the aim of the transfer, licensing fees, etc. are required in addition to the above-listed information. The details have to be agreed upon individually for each case.

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