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Monday Feb 09, 2015

USPTO Trade Secret Symposium

Guest blog by Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs Shira Perlmutter

On January 8, 2015, the USPTO held a trade secret symposium at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The public event featured experts from academia, law, private industry, and the government discussing the importance of trade secrets to innovators.

The protection of U.S. trade secrets from misappropriation is a top priority for the administration and the USPTO, as trade secret theft threatens American businesses and the U.S. economy. Trade secrets are also important internationally since U.S. innovators need to be positioned to succeed when they operate in a global marketplace in which all IP rights are secure. When someone steals a trade secret, it undermines a company’s ability to compete in the global marketplace and can pose a threat to businesses, workers, and the U.S. economy.

In her opening remarks at the trade secret symposium, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee noted this was a first of its kind event at the USPTO, and its importance toward helping entrepreneurs and businesses start, grow and innovate. I was pleased with the variety of panels at the symposium, which discussed:  the economics of trade secret theft, the changing ways innovators are looking to IP laws to protect their assets, the relationship between patents and trade secrets, litigation of trade secret misappropriation, and international trade secret protection. Panelists included representatives from the World Intellectual Property Organization, the London School of Economics, Intel Corporation, Proctor & Gamble, law firms, Congressional offices, and more. View the full agenda and panelists.

The symposium sparked meaningful dialogue on such topics as whether a shift has occurred toward greater reliance on trade secrets, issues inherent to trade secret litigation, legislative initiatives, and the challenges of global enforcement. Going forward, the USPTO will continue to lead substantive discussions of the policies involved in trade secret protection both domestically and internationally. We look forward to continuing the conversation. Learn more about the USPTO Symposium on Trade Secret Protection.

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