- Competitive Analysis vs Risks Trade Secret Contamination


Conceiving of a new product, component or functionality involves evaluating (i) the needs of potential customers in a particular market segment, (ii) the capabilities and access to intellectual property of your own company, and (iii) the offerings of competitors.

A resulting list of "requirements" or "functional specifications" emerges. The term "requirements" tends to be used in marketing contexts while "functional specifications" tends to be used in engineering circles, but in either case the list contains an itemization of the attributes and capabilities of the new product in high level terms.

Examining the proprietary aspects of competitive offerings, though necessary, poses certain legal risks for which specific legal guidance is appropriate. If your new product includes special functionality that is equivalent to proprietary functionality offered by a competitor, you would expect the competitor to wonder how you acquired the capability and from whom.

>> Link to other related tasks in phases of Technology Life Cycle

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