Companies often rely on trade secret protection for their most valuable intellectual property. Trade secret can protect many different types of valuable information such as chemical formulas, business or manufacturing methods or processes, software programs or designs. In the US, trade secret protection has been a matter of state law. However, on May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the first federal trade secret law, the Defend Trade Secret Act (DTSA).

For an overview of the new law, take a look at http://www.finnegan.com/news/newsdetail.aspx?news=08ded6c4-1886-4dde-b8f2-86e1db18652c. Finnegan has also produced a podcast on the new law: http://www.finnegan.com/podcasts/PodcastDetail.aspx?pub=88e91d7c-89dc-46ba-9dfb-0a086e72d707. (Finnegan has long been a supporter of CERC IP work and Finnegan lawyer Shaobin Zhu contributed to the CERC IP Guide and is a member of the CERC IP Experts Group).

A more detailed description is available at http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/defend-trade-secrets-act-signed-into-law-73692/ and a comparison of the new DTSA and the EU Trade Secret Directive can be found at http://patentlyo.com/patent/2016/05/comparison-secrets-directive.html.

For some practical insights into protecting trade secret in the US and China, see Allen & Overy Partner, Benjamin Bai’s presentation to CERC at http://www.us-china-cerc.org/pdfs/Trade_Secrets_in_China_tutorial_BAI.pdf.

Hearing: U.S.-China Clean Energy Cooperation: Status, Challenges, and Opportunities | U.S.-CHINA. The Senate Commission on US-China Economic and Energy Security Review held a hearing on Friday, April 25, 2014.

The hearing, “U.S.-China Clean Energy Cooperation: Status, Challenges And Opportunities,” although broadly scoped, focused on the US-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC). Intellectual property figured prominently in the testimony of most witnesses.

Video of the entire hearing and links to bios and prepared testimony are here.

Witnesses:

Ms. Leocadia Zak, Director, USTDA;

Dr. Valerie Karplus, Project Director, China Energy and Climate Project, MIT;

Ms. Jane Nakano, Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS;

The Coal CERC was represented by Dr. Jerry Fletcher, West Virgina University; and

The Vehicles CERC was represented  by Professor Huei Peng, University of Michigan.

Ms. Sarah Forbes, World Resources Inc., where Sarah has been active in building US-China relations in clean energy, including partnerships supporting CERC; and

Professor Joanna Lewis, Georgetown University; whose research focuses on US-China S&T cooperation, specializing on innovative models and IP matters. She was the author of the summary reports of two joint workshops on IP, sponsored by DOE and organized by the CERC Secretariat.

Why China Is So Wary Of Ambitious International Climate Targets | ThinkProgress notes that “The United States and China are already experimenting with new frameworks for joint intellectual property development under the bilateral Clean Energy Research Centers. Joint technology development could be a model for the types of technology transfer that speeds China’s access to higher-end clean energy technology without disadvantaging U.S. firms.”