Deception and IP Strategy

An act of deception has won many a military battle – from Sun Tzu to the Trojan Horse, from Alexander the Great, Hannibal or Napolean to the Spaniards defeating the overwhelmingly more numerous Incas.

Here are some examples that I have seen deployed to mislead a competitor – what would you add?

  1. Creating a ‘smokescreen’ of patent filings covering technology of lesser commercial interest to make it difficult to ascertain the actual technology direction or new product under development.
  2. Creating a similar ‘smokescreen’ of trade mark filings to protect a new brand or new category for a brand.
  3. ‘Leaking’ misleading information to a known informant.
  4. ‘Seeding’ competitive intelligence sources with additional information that whilst true, suggests a direction or strategy other than the intended course

Deceptive practices always carry the risk of breaching anti-trust / competition law and, in my view are rarely warranted. But don’t let an opponent out-manoeuvre you by deception.  Look for facts, and specialist, local knowledge and verify them.

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