To appreciate the significance—or the ubiquity— of commercial tamper protection, one needn’t go any farther than the local grocery store. You, and many other consumers, probably wouldn't use a product with a broken seal. If grocery store patrons have a low tolerance for uncertainty, imagine the burden of proof facing scientific intellectual property owners in a court of law.
“Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana,” commented Microsoft’s Bill Gates. So why should laboratory managers worry about keeping intellectual property confidential? Gates’ statement may be true for computers and information technology. However, in many other business areas, intellectual property can have a much longer shelf life and needs to remain confidential for many years.
It is becoming increasingly expensive to both obtain patents and defend them in lawsuits should the need arise. An alternative is protecting your right to commercialize an invention through the strategy of defensive publications.