Relationship to patentable inventions
Until a patentable invention is the subject of a published patent application, it can be protected as a trade secret or as know how.
It is important to protect it as a trade secret or know how up to the stage of the filing of a patent application, since if it becomes public domain knowledge before the filing of the application, novelty is lost, and you become disqualified from being entitled to a patent.
It is also important to continue to protect a patentable invention even after the filing of a patent application. You may for example decide to allow your patent application to lapse and to refile a new application, for example, as a result of further research, or as a result of further data. If between the two applications the patentable invention was not maintained as a trade secret or as know how you become disqualified from being entitled to a patent based on your second application. If your first application has now lapsed, the result is that you have become disqualified from being granted a patent.
It is also important to consider protecting your technology as a trade secret or as know how even after a patent application is filed. This is because it is often the case that in addition to the patentable invention encompassed in the published patent application, you may also have trade secrets or know how associated with the patentable invention.