TMCNet's U.S. Patent Reforms Might Force Firms to Rely on Trade Secrets has several interesting points. First, it serves as a reminder of the interplay between patents and trade secrets. Secondly, it notes (what should be a familiar refrain if you have been reading my other articles on trade secrets) that effective trade secrets require planning and enforcement by the business.
The flight away from patents can be seen in filing statistics. The number of chem/bio patents filed at the USPTO rose from 30,000 per year in the mid-1990s to 45,000 in 2001. By 2006, the level of filing had fallen back to where it stood 10 years earlier. Similarly, at the European Patent Office, there was a 13 percent year-on-year increase between 1995 and 2000, followed by a 6 percent year-on-year fall from 2000 to 2003.
But, Gollin said, 'biotech is still innovative, so where is innovation going if not into patents?'
The answer seems to be that the scales are tipping back in favor of keeping trade secrets, posing the question of whether biotechs prefer the patent or trade secret approach when it comes to protecting their intellectual property."
The increased reliance on trade secrets and know-how to protect IP raises cultural and management issues, given that the easiest route for those types of information to be disclosed is through current and former employees.
That is a particular problem in biotech said Kerry Flynn, vice president of intellectual property and licensing at Shire Human Genetic Therapies Inc. "It is an incestuous community; employees leaving to join a competitor down the street makes keeping trade secrets a bit of a challenge."
As a result, the company has set up a formal process to protect trade secrets. In addition to signing nondisclosure agreements on joining Shire, new employees are briefed by a lawyer on the company's policy. They are reminded also of their duty of confidentiality to previous employers, in a bid to ensure that Shire cannot be accused of stealing trade secrets from other companies.
Jorda on: The Complementariness of Patents and Trade Secrets Regarding the Patent/Trade Secret interface, let’s keep in mind that all Patents are born as Trade Secrets, and that Trade Secrets also accompany Patents and outlast Patents. Patents and Trade Secrets are not mutually exclusive, but highly complementary and mutually reinforcing...
Are trade secrets nothing but baby patents Are trade secrets nothing but ?baby patents?? After incredibly derogatory and defamatory statements about trade secrets, which I have heard in the past, such as, ?trade secrets don?t have a single redeeming virtue? from a corporate chief IP counsel and ?trade secrets are the cesspool of the patent system? from a Washington, DC IP professor, comes the dismissive statement that trade secrets are nothing but ?baby patents?...
Jorda on: The Importance of Trade Secrets I would now like to share my conclusions about Trade Secrets, and thereby dispel some serious misconceptions about them that still linger and lurk around but should be eradicated once and for all...
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