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Know-How.
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Know-how is just one such unprotected but vital class of informal intellectual property that demonstrates real market competitive advantage.
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Know-how can be similar to a trade secret, but often lacks the element of attempts to maintain as a secret, lost its secrecy, or was not initially known to have value and is there for not protectable, but valuable.  Know-how may not recognized by those who apply it, but for those vigilant to seeking every market advantage, will recognize there are several sources of know-how within an organization that have a tangible impact of competitive advantage in the market, much like a trade secret.
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Know- How – “The Art” Of “The Science”
Know-how is a term for practical knowledge on how to accomplish something, as opposed to “know-what” (facts), “know-why” (science), or “know-who” (communication).Know-how is a type of combination of both the “art” and the “science” of an action.
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Know-How

Science – Art – Wonder Erin Meekhof, Venn diagrams describes my desire to live in the overlap of science and art, Sourced 2014, http://www.erinmeekhof.com/science-art-wonder/

“The Art” – Often tacit knowledge, which means that it is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it.
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“The Science” – The opposite of tacit knowledge is explicit knowledge.  This is the understandable portion of know-how that makes give it the sense that the know-how can be accomplished, but lacks the refinement, the little tricks, the known or unknown secrets associated with “the art.”
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In the context of industrial property (now generally viewed as intellectual property), know-how is a component in the transfer of technology in national and international environments, co-existing with or separate from other IP rights such as patents, trademarks and copyright and is an economic asset.[1] While know-how is recognized in U.S. Tax regulations as a property, services by individuals having know-how are not.[2].
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Examples Of Know-How
What is know a powerful body of intellectual property that can make the difference in technology development, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and general competitive advantage.  For instance:
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Consultant – A consultant in the same locality, in the same field as other consultants, using much the same basic business concepts, is however particularly effective at helping businesses improve their revenue and profitability. The trick, a unique insight of the consultant with relationships between basic business, the unique qualities of the business under review, current economic trends, etc. for a unique solution. The consultant knows the reasons for the favorable results and is applying unique organizational perspective or know-how.
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Aunt Martha’s Muffins – Unduplicatable by anyone in the family, although the recipe has been given and reviewed many times over the years. Only Martha has captured the know-how that results in the mouth-watering muffins that the whole family seeks to duplicate, but cannot.  Aunt Martha is applying both “the art” (source of flour, warm fresh eggs, mineral condition of her water, dashes instead of exact measurements, etc.) and “the science” (following the basic recipe).  Aunt Martha may not even know why here muffins turn out differently.
Know-How.
Manufacture A vs. Manufacture B – The adhesive, lotion, or flavoring from plant A is stable and consistent, beyond that of plant B using the same ingredient and process. It could be the pH of the water, the cleanliness of the vessels, the accuracy of temperature setting, that shipping does not go through high elevation or atmospheric pressure changes, leadership, line staff who take more pride in their product, and the list could go on. It is a market advantage that Manufacture A has some understanding (or not) and if they do know why they build it into the business for a market advantage (plants in Nebraska that sell into the mid-west instead of in Idaho with product that has to travail the Rocky Mountains, etc.).
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Multiple Succeeding Inventor – Why does one inventor gain patents that result in reoccurring success in the market through product sales or the licensing and sale of the patent rights. The inventor know and uses it as an intellectual property and advantage in the market.
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Examples such as these could go on as to how one succeed and another is frustrated, while being in the same field.  A properly patented invention or other effective intellectual property may be the difference between thriving or surviving in the market place. This all means, know-how is powerful intellectual property and Fortress PATENTS / IP is available for consultation for enhancing know-how advantage.

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Patent or Not To Patent
Know-how may or may not be patentable matter, may or may not be recognized so not patented, or may have lost its patentable status, or among other reasons is neither patented or held as a trade secret.  
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Patentable – To patent, the subject must fist be a patentable matter.  Given that a patent is allowed, to patent or not to patent a method, apparatus (machine or manufacture item), or a composition is a business decision as to what will bring the greatest benefit to the inventor or business organization.  The requirement to disclose key information in a patent must be seen as beneficial to gain the benefit of years of exclusivity of use of the protected invention, especially in fields where there are active and similar research, discovery, and development.
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Not Patented
Know-HowNot Patentable Matter – The know-how is not a patentable subject.  The matter may be more abstract, relationship based, a unique source of material with a certain percentage of purity or impurity, an exclusive business relationship, and more would not be patentable, but provides a tangible advantage in the market.
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Lost Higher Protective Status – The know-how may have lost a more advantageous status, but still remains viable as a competitive advantage.  The subject may have been disclosed at any level of small or large broadcast, prematurely offered for sale, or otherwise lost its patentable status.  In like manner information, a method, a source, etc. may not be a trade secret because it lost its propriety.  In either event, the know-how continues to retain viability in the market place and continues to be practices.
Know-HowValue Later Recognized – Know-how can be recognized after separate methods, systems, sources, etc. come together and form a synergistic result not originally recognized, but evolved into a type of organizational knowledge.  Much like the power of organizational culture, know-how resides in the tangible space that may be clearly available to others, but unable to be duplicated.  It can simply be valuable organizational skill.
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Not formally captured – Know-how often is just there.  Again, much like the culture of the organization, it can be just known in the organization and has not be specifically reduced to a system or writing, that there is not a desire to do so, as not to overly disclosure and educate others, among other reasons.
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Fortress PATENTS / IP is available to apply expertise with informal intellectual property to assess, capture and catalog, and otherwise solidify skill based market advantage into an identifiable intellectual property asset of an organization. Increase the goodwill asset line of your balance sheet, which in fact may be one of the major contributors to your market competitiveness.
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References
1. Manual on Technology Transfer Negotiation, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (A Reference for Policy-makers and Practitioners on Technology Transfer), United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Vienna, Austria (1996) ISBN 92-1-106302-7.
2. Internal Revenue Service: Final report on Treatment of Services under Section 482-9T; US Dept. of the Treasury, August 2006.