Two of the lesser known areas of laws are Trade Secrets and various Suis Generis Laws. Trade Secret protection does not require any registration whatsoever. As the name implies, the only thing you have to do is to keep that competitive advantage a secret. One example is the Swiffer hydrostatic charge that is used to attract dirt from floors. Swiffer has never applied for patent protection because they believe that no one else will be able to reverse engineer their secret to hydrostic charging. In so doing, they do not have to worry about a 20 year patent term expiring. Of course, they would not be able to stop someone from reverse engineering their process. However, Trade Secret Law will protect and provide recourse in the event of a rogue employee who sells or takes those trade secrets to a competitor.