MAY 2017

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


What to Do When Trade Secrets Walk Out the Door:

A recent lawsuit between Facebook’s Oculus VR and ZeniMax Media ended with a Texas jury awarding ZeniMax $500 million after finding that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey violated a signed non-disclosure agreement. The lawsuit began after ZeniMax alleged that Oculus’ CTO, John Carmack, illegally copied thousands of documents containing ZeniMax’s IP when he left id Software, a ZeniMax owned company. Although the jury ruled that Oculus did not steal trade secrets, the lawsuit still highlights how trade secrets can pose a risk to a company when employees leave. With increased employee movement from company to company, Mark Chandler, senior vice president, general counsel, and chief compliance officer at Cisco, suggests that to offset this risk, companies should primarily create an environment where employees want to stay. Chandler acknowledges however, that employee movement is inevitable and that companies should not only educate employees on the expectation that trade secrets will not be taken, but also segment confidential information so it is harder for malicious employees to access trade secrets. To read more on how companies can protect their confidential information, click here.

The US Trade Representative

USTR Identifies China, India, Others as ‘Unacceptable’ for IP Protection

The Office of the United States Trade Representative has released its 2017 Special 301 Report, which highlights foreign trading partners who have “unacceptable levels” of IP protection and enforcement. The Report is the first under President Trump’s administration and, like Reports under the Obama administration, continues to place China, India, Indonesia, and others on a Priority Watch List to “expose the laws, policies, and practices that fail to provide adequate and effective IP protection and enforcement for U.S. inventors, creators, brands, manufacturers, and service providers.” China continues to top the list for “widespread infringing activity” including online piracy and counterfeiting, trade secret theft, and counterfeit exports. According to the USTR, India is also included due to a failure to improve its IP framework, which has made it difficult for U.S. businesses, particularly those in pharmaceuticals and software, to maintain patents. To read the full 2017 report, including other countries on the Priority Watch List, click here.


America Invents Act

In an effort to weed out invalid patents, the 2011 America Invents Act provided a new proceeding that enables third parties to challenge the validity of newly issued patents. Professor Shubha Ghosh, the Crandall Melvin Professor of Law at Syracuse University College of Law, is gathering data about these proceedings. Read a summary of his research here.


Around New York State


NanoHydroChem Wins University at Buffalo Entrepreneurship Competition

Parham Rohani, a University at Buffalo doctoral student in chemical and biological engineering, and business strategist S. Bruce Kohrn, took home the top prize in the University at Buffalo’s Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition. Their company, NanoHydroChem was awarded $25,000 in startup capital and in-kind services valued at $27,000, for their patent-pending technology that produces hydrogen on demand from water to generate power from fuel cells in a safer and more effective way. Rohani, co-founder of the company, says fuel cell companies, system integrators, and the military will be NanoHydroChem’s first customers. To read more, click here.



Stony Brook University Logo

2017 Incubator Showcase

Stony Brook University’s Office of Economic Development will host the second annual Incubator Showcase on Thursday, June 8. The event will take place at the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT) in Stony Brook University’s Research and Development Park and will feature over 50 company exhibits and displays. The Incubator Showcase will highlight technologies that attending entrepreneurs are bringing to the marketplace and will also provide attendees with opportunities to network with biotechnology, energy, and information technology companies. To RSVP for the event, click here.



Upstate Mind Logo

“Concept to Commercialization” Bootcamp

The first workshop of the “Concept to Commercialization” Bootcamp will be on Thursday, August 3 at the Upstate MIND, a Medical Innovation and Novel Discovery Center within CNY Biotech Accelerator in Syracuse, NY. The first session will cover new venture and technology commercialization and will include topics on the market research process, customer discovery, building an effective team, and more. The second session of Workshop 1 will take place on August 4 and will center around medical device U.S. regulations. Topics of the session include a regulatory overview, risk management, and technical documentation. Workshop 2 will take place on September 14 & 15, while Workshop 3 will take place on October 12 & 13. To read more on the itinerary of each workshop and to register, click here.



Lab to Market logo

Financing Strategies for Start-ups

May 31, 2017
1 – 2:15 pm EST
Presented by Marcene Sonneborn, Professor of Practice, i-School, Syracuse University and SBIR & Innovation Specialist at TDO, and Glenn Vonk, Director of Business Development and Alliances, NCET2. Moderated by Shubha Ghosh, Crandall Melvin Professor of Law & Director of the Technology Commercialization Law Program, Syracuse University College of Law.

The webcast will cover SBIR funding for corporate and university-based entities, including angel funding, equity finance and other strategies for start-ups to consider when weighing options for early financing.

To register for the webcast, click here.

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