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Innovation e-Review

The Innovation Review is the New York State Science & Technology Law Center's monthly newsletter, bringing information on a variety of economic, business, and technology related legal news as well as highlighting and profiling resources and events across the state.

IP/Regulatory Law Watch

Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee is Confirmed as Director of USPTO

On March 9, the United States Senate confirmed Michelle Lee to head the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Ms. Lee supersedes David Kappos, who last held the position in January 2013. Lee’s official title, the second longest in Washington, is Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Lee has been Deputy Director of the USPTO since January 2014 and is the first woman to fill the role. The Senate also confirmed Daniel Marti to become the new Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, a position referred to in the White House as the “IP Czar.”


SEC Adopts Final Rules for Investment in Smaller Companies

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed into law almost three years ago, in April 2012. The goal of the legislation was to provide cost-effective access to capital for companies of all sizes. The JOBS Act requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to write rules and issue studies on capital formation, disclosure, and registration requirements in order to make it easier for small and mid-sized businesses to raise capital through public offerings. This month, the SEC adopted final rules related to Regulation A which will enable smaller companies to offer and sell up to $50 million of securities in a 12-month period. The rules will go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.


USPTO Retires Sensitive Application Warning System (SAWS)

The USPTO recently announced that it is retiring its Sensitive Application Warning System (SAWS), which received mixed reactions. Supporters of the system believe it is beneficial in terms of accountability in government, while critics were upset due to time and expenses resulting from the USPTO’s delay of patent applications.

The SAWS was established in 1994 but controversy over a leaked memo gained the program negative publicity in 2006. When Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP obtained the outlines of the SAWS program in late 2014, the reason for the USPTO’s long pendency and low allowance rates became clear. SAWS is now officially retired but the USPTO’s efforts to rid themselves of marginal patents will still continue. However, these will no longer be performed confidentially.


Around New York State


10 More Businesses Added to Start-Up NY

Governor Cuomo announced on March 23, that 10 more businesses plan to expand or locate to New York State as a result of START-UP NY. These companies are joining the other 83 participants involved in the program that creates tax-free areas associated with colleges and universities statewide. These 10 businesses announced that they will invest nearly $40 million and create at least 267 new jobs in the near future. START-UP NY now has created nearly 3,000 new jobs and invested over $173 million throughout the state.


Empire State Development Approves Funding of Over $17 Million for 17 Projects Across New York State

This month, the Empire State Development (ESD) Board of Directors approved over $17 million in funding for 17 economic development projects throughout New York State. These award grants include projects in Monroe County in the Finger Lakes Region, Broome County in the Southern Tier Region, Cayuga and Onondaga Counties in the Central New York Region, Albany and Rensselaer Counties Capital, Westchester and Orange Counties in the Mid-Hudson Region, Oneida County in the Mohawk Valley Region, and Erie County in the Western New York Region. These projects will directly create 387 new jobs and retain 485 existing New York Jobs.


Educational Opportunities


Tech Garden's Germinator Program

The Germinator is a new startup competition that combines traditional incubation programs with the intensity of an accelerator experience. The two-year program consists of four semesters devoted to trainings around 6 core subject areas, marketing, sales, legal/IP, finance, fundraising, and management. Companies selected for the program will gain a solid foundation in those areas while having a support network of an in-house software development shop, over 50,000 square feet of office space, and a community of inventors and entrepreneurs. Applications are currently closed and the first 6 companies will start the program in mid-April. Anyone interested can sign up for the Tech Garden's newsletter to receive information about ongoing events and programs.


Stony Brook University Center of Excellence Presents The Entrepreneur's Toolkit

On April 21, the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology at Stony Brook University is presenting the next part of their workshops for entrepreneurs, early-phase companies, and inventors titled The Entrepreneur's Toolkit. An all-star list of speakers will present technology agnostic information on a slew of relevant topics including but not limited to intellectual property and corporate entities. The event is free to attend, but registration is required and spaces are limited.

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