Sometimes, however, getting a patent is just about the worst thing you can do for your commercial success. This Financial Times article, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/b156116a-2beb-11e1-98bc-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1hH92fig0, outlines the steps that SpaceX is taking to ensure its commercial space shuttle technology is safe. While not every HLR client is developing eye-catching, high-value international technology, SpaceX's concerns are valid and worth factoring into your intellectual property strategy.
Secrets are very hard to keep in this wired world, so if you decide to protect your ideas with trade secrets instead of patents, be prepared to increase the amount of technology you have to juggle. A solution as simple as storing blue prints or specifications on a machine that is never connected to the internet might seem easy at first, but if you're ever going to license, manufacture, or sell your product, someone is going to need those specifications. It's also important to have back-ups somewhere in case of a natural disaster.
There are several layers of protection available, like non-disclosure agreements with penalties for breach laid out very clearly. There is a solution for every problem, and it behooves you to consider the amount of exposure you can afford before you get to market with the costs of obtaining and enforcing a legal judgment against the perpetrator after they have taken information that belongs to you.