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Secrecy can be an effective strategy for protecting a software invention if the invention is difficult to discover.  For example, software inventions that are not distributed in a software image are hard to reverse engineer. 

However, there are several dangers to using secrecy as a protection strategy.  If a competitor independently develops the invention and files for a patent before you have used it commercially for at least a year, the competitor could later sue you for patent infringement.  Good secrets are also notoriously difficult to keep for long.  Yet for many inventions, secrecy can be a viable protection strategy.


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