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 Finnegan has also produced a podcast on the new law: (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 and a comparison of the new DTSA and the EU Trade Secret Directive can be found at

For some practical insights into protecting trade secret in the US and China, see Allen & Overy Partner, Benjamin Bai’s presentation to CERC at

In Considering Patent Law Changes, Don’t Forget Impact on Universities.Washington State University (WSU) and the University of Washington (UW) recently released a report that provides valuable insight into how university R&D spurs industry innovation and economic growth and highlights the need for careful consideration by Congress when thinking about any changes to our patent system. Brian Pomper, the Executive Director of the Innovation Alliance, a group that represents several research organizations on policy issues, summarizes. I encourage you to take a look at this summary and the UW/WSU report. (BTW, this post doesn’t represent an endorsement of Innovation Alliance).

U.S. Patent Prosecution for Support Staff: A Desk Reference: Rosaleen A. Walsh. I have yet to read this, but it looks interesting. The Amazon description: U.S. Patent Prosecution for Support Staff is a practical desk reference, designed to promote ongoing learning and job proficiency for paralegals and secretaries assisting patent practitioners in submitting filings to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It presents complex filing requirements in an easy-to-follow format, and reduces volumes of information into concise, accessible learning points that will assist both novice and seasoned support staff alike as they work to develop or update the breadth and depth of their knowledge of U.S. patent prosecution. A comprehensive guide, U.S. Patent Prosecution for Support Staff provides a detailed step-by-step guide to the filing requirements for the most frequently filed activities in U.S. patent prosecution, as well as more novel filings. The content includes the most recent provisions of the America Invents Act, the American Invents Act Technical Corrections Bill, and the Patent Law Treaty.

Different Types of U.S. Patent Applications – | Patents & Patent Law.

Patent Drafting: Not as Easy as You Think – | Patents & Patent Law. We all know how important it is to patent an invention, but some consider the do-it-yourself approach. This article explains the importance of getting it right, which may (likely will) require an expert to draft the patent. There are also some good links to some basic patenting information.

An Overview of the U.S. Patent Process – | Patents & Patent Law.

Good, Bad & Ugly: Truth About Provisional Patent Applications – | Patents & Patent Law. Often informative, Gene Quinn offers good information about the drafting and value of provisional patent applications.

We have added two new categories of information in the right column of links that should be most useful for researchers and other non-IP lawyers interested in patents and patent search.

The first is a collection of links to Nolo Press online resources and books. Nolo Press is a publisher, widely known in the US as one of the best legal resources for legal matters for the non-lawyer. Their books and online materials (including online PTO forms) will help you understand the patent process and what you need to do – step-by-step – as an inventor or researcher involved with potentially patentable IP.

Second, we are providing links to a number of search tools, databases and services that will enable prior art searches and patent landscape mapping. Some of these services are subscription or fee-based. The commercial services listed here are examples of the types of services that are available. This list does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement of these services.

We hope these resources are of interest and value and I encourage you to let us know what you think.

The Benefits of a Provisional Patent Application – | Patents & Patent Law.

What is a Patent? Understanding Patents and Patent Law 101 | | Patents & Patent Law. This extremely helpful guide will give you the basics, and useful links to more details. Sometimes it’s great to go back to the basics…