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Throughout time industries have ­developed techniques and processes that are believed to be essential elements that contributed to the company’s success. For almost as long, companies have sought and devised ways to protect those techniques and processes that constituted the company’s intellectual property. Many companies turned to federal patent protection, others chose to treat the information as trade secrets and others chose to use contractual obligations to protect their intellectual property. These various forms of protection were especially meaningful in what might be termed soft industries like banking, financial advice, sales transactions, supply chain management and the like. This information was not specifically directed at a product, but was directed at the things that made it possible to produce and sell a product. In many ways this intellectual property may be called business intelligence. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank International, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014), has made it more difficult to use patents to protect business intelligence.

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