Innovation Review

Monthly information on a variety of economic, business, and technology related legal news as well as highlights and profiles of resources and events across New York state.


IP/Regulatory Law Watch


SEC Launches Financial Technology Resource

The Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub) serves as a resource on the SEC’s views and actions on emerging financial technology related questions. Issues addressed include: distributed ledger/blockchain technology, digital financing, automated investing, and artificial intelligence. In announcing the site, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton stated: “The SEC is committed to working with investors and market participants on new approaches to capital formation, market structure, and financial services, with an eye toward enhancing, and in no way reducing, investor protection.” Earlier in the year, Clayton testified before the Senate regarding the need for ICO’s to comply with securities laws. The ability of digital assets to function in another non-security manner, was addressed at the Yahoo Finance Summit by William Hinman, the SEC Director of Corporation Finance. See his remarks here.


Trademark Applications Surge as Overseas Brands Enter U.S. Market

The number of trademark applications being filed by foreign companies with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is growing. Since 2013, the number of foreign-based applicants rose to nearly 120,000, or 26% of total trademark applicants. The growth comes with an increased international awareness of the complicated US trademark registration process, which has led to better applications and increased approval rates. Additionally, as foreign companies continue to understand the need for experienced US attorneys to properly protect their trademark rights, the number of abroad applicants will continue to grow. The increase of foreign applicants will lead to further competition for US companies. To learn more about the overseas applicant trend, click here.

US GOV Congress

Federal Trade Secret Litigation on the Rise

Since the authorization of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) in May 2016, there has been a significant increase in the number of trade secret misappropriation cases. More than 1,000 DTSA claims have been filed in federal district courts. Prior to the passage of the DTSA, trade secret misappropriation claims could only be handled on the state level. The increased trade secret litigation is driven by greater employee mobility and electronic document storing capability. Companies are well served to evaluate their trade secret policies, including limiting employee access to protected information on personal devices, and documenting the circulation and acknowledgement of the company’s trade secret policies. To learn more about the recent trend in the Defend Trade Secrets Act, click here.


FDA Releases Plant and Animal Biotechnology Innovation Action Plan

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released its Plant and Animal Biotechnology Innovation Action Plan (Action Plan). The plan, which highlights the priorities the FDA will pursue through 2020, aims to support innovation in plant and animal biotechnology. The FDA’s plan also ensures the safety of product use by consumers, and has three specific objectives: advance public health through promotion of innovation; strengthen public outreach and communication; and increase engagement with domestic and international partners. To learn more about the FDA Action Plan, click here.


Around New York State

Genius NY

GENIUS NY Round Three Finalists Announced

Five finalist companies have been selected by GENIUS NY for its third round. GENIUS NY is a business accelerator program at CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden that aims to develop next-generation technologies, specifically within the drone industry. The startup companies will compete for $3 million total in direct investment: one company will receive $1 million, while the other four receive $500,000. The finalists include EagleHawk, a drone-powered roof inspection and management company; Vermeer, an augmented reality-enabled drone camera application; Civdrone, a company developing drones for construction; Sentient Blue, a company developing more efficient and eco-friendly power sources for drones; and ResilienX, who aims to improve drone traffic management. The companies will move into the Tech Garden in January and draw upon CNY area resources including the designated UAS test site at Griffiss International Airport and NUAIR Alliance, while contributing to the technological and economic development of the CNY region.  To learn more about GENIUS NY, CNY Rising, and the newest finalists, click here.


Around New York State: Spotlight On Buffalo


This month the Innovation Review explores the Western New York Region, which touts research in medicine, technology and science. Researchers in the area have a host of innovation opportunities such as 43North, the world’s largest business plan competition that annually awards $5 million to startups. The University of Buffalo boasts cutting-edge research at centers such as its Center for Advanced Technology in Big Data and the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences. The area is also home to a variety of top technology-driven companies, including FedEx Trade Networks, Yahoo, IBM and Time Warner Cable. Below are some of the region’s top centers and programs.


University at Buffalo Center for Advanced Technology in Big Data and Health Sciences

The UB Center for Advanced Technology in Big Data and Health Sciences (UB CAT) is one of 15 New York State Centers for Advanced Technology. Sponsored by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), the Center utilizes University resources to drive company growth, specifically in start-ups. UB CAT emphasizes the intersection of big data and health sciences, and awards grants to fund industry-university collaborations. Current UB CAT projects include Circuit Clinical, a data collection and analytics systems; Tactiva, a platform for receptor discovery; and Efferent Labs, a version 3 biosensor project. To learn more about UB CAT and its projects, click here.


New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences

The NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) is one of 11 New York State Centers of Excellence. Housed at the University at Buffalo, the CBLS is a center for life sciences innovation and technology-based economic development. The CBLS aims to spark scientific discovery, while engaging academia and creating collaboration between the university, industry and public sector. Its goal is to create jobs to directly improve the economies of the Western New York region. To learn more about the CBLS, click here.


New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics

The NYS Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI) is the second Center of Excellence at the University at Buffalo. Similar to the CBLS, the CMI focuses on innovation and economic growth. The Center utilizes UB’s cutting-edge materials science, big data analytics and advanced manufacturing expertise in its work. It aims to create and maintain research and development programs with the goal of directly impacting private sector growth. Its past work includes development of chemical sensing chips to detect cocaine and creation of a device to enable coin-sized medical labs. Additionally, its programs have won over $50,000 in FuzeHub commercialization competitions. To learn more about CMI, click here.

Insyte Consulting

Insyte Consulting

Insyte Consulting is a Buffalo-based not-for-profit supporting Western New York (WNY) manufacturing and technology companies. A National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership-approved center (NIST MEP), Insyte is the official representative of the MEP National Network in WNY. Insyte consults with its partners to provide business operations solutions and contacts. The goal is to transform business operations, create and retain jobs, and fuel growth and innovation in the region. To learn more about Insyte Consulting, click here.



43North is an annual startup competition in Buffalo, NY. Founded in 2014, the competition awards $5 million in investment to a variety of innovative startups. The competition provides mentors, incubator space and the opportunity to operate tax-free to its companies, and has invested in 45 companies since its creation. 43North was developed as a part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, and is supported by the New York Power Authority. Competition winners have gone on to raise over $100 million and create over 300 jobs in the region. Its most recent winners include SparkCharge, a developer of portable charging units for electric cars, and NaturAll Club, a company using food technology to develop natural beauty products. To learn more about 43North, click here.

Interested in having your region spotlighted? Contact us here.




Build4Scale Workshop

January 29 – Revolution Hall, Troy, NY

On Tuesday, January 29, FuzeHub will host its annual Build4Scale workshop. The event, which will run from 8:15 am to 4:00 pm, will feature several keynote presentations from experts in science, technology, manufacturing and research. Additionally, the event will feature workshops and networking opportunities. To learn more about the Build4Scale Workshop and register, click here.


Li-Ion Cells Manufacturing Seminar

June 20-21, 2019 – RIT Battery Prototyping Center, Rochester, NY

The RIT Battery Prototyping Center and Shmuel De-Leon Energy will host an educational battery seminar on June 20-21, 2019. The event will feature scientific lectures on battery materials and technology, and hands-on training in manufacturing technology. Academic and industry experts will be present at the seminar and participate in the practical training. To learn more about the Li-Ion Cells Manufacturing Seminar, click here.




Global NY

Is your NYS business thinking about exporting? If you’re already sending some of what you make overseas, would you like to expand that part of your operation? Many small-to-medium companies want to reach global markets, but they need to manage their risks. As the result of the National Export Initiative (NEXT) and Global NY initiative, the federal and state governments are willing to share this risk with you. Global NY can connect your company to the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program. The STEP Program is offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through Empire State Development (ESD). To learn more about STEP and how it can help your business, click here. NYS STLC has also compiled an Export Control Guidebook to assist individuals considering the export of their technology.

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