Frackers Could Protect Their Secrets with Patents

November 23, 2013

It might have been worth including this piece of information in a NYT piece on a new set of regulations that Wyoming is imposing on fracking. The piece notes that companies engaged in fracking are not required to disclose the mix of chemicals they use in the process in order to avoid giving away secrets to competitors.

This is precisely the reason that we have patents. If a company has an especially innovative mix of chemicals they would be able to get it patented and prevent their competitors from using it for 20 years. The fact that companies can obtain patent protection makes it implausible that protecting secrets is the real motive for their refusal to disclose the chemicals they are using.


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