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MBHB snippets Alert - May 11, 2016

This afternoon, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”) into law, creating a new Federal cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets. The new law is the most significant expansion of Federal intellectual property law in a generation, and brings with it significant benefits – but also new responsibilities – for intellectual property owners and employers. And in this era of narrowed subject matter eligibility for patenting, the DTSA may provide enough of an incentive for intellectual property owners to keep more information as trade secrets.
It has been over 20 months since the Supreme Court handed down the landmark decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, effectively limiting the scope of patent-eligible subject matter. In particular, software and business method patents and applications now receive a higher level of scrutiny under Alice than had previously been the case.
The USPTO offers a spectrum of programs that can be used to expedite examination of patent applications, which include Prioritized Examination (PE), Accelerated Examination (AE), the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), Petitions to Make Special (PTMS), Full First Action Interviews (FFAI), the After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP 2.0) program, and the Collaborative Search Pilot (CSP) program.
February 4, 2016, marked the one-year anniversary of the initial In re Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC Federal Circuit decision – the first opinion stemming from the first appeal of the first final written decision of the first inter partes review (“IPR”) ever filed. From the time that decision came out until the end of January 2016, there have been at least 56 appeals from IPRs and Covered Business Method (“CBM”) patent reviews resolved by this appeals court.
The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015, a bill to establish a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation, has continued its progress through Congress with a favorable hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 2, 2015, that led to unanimous committee approval of an amended version on January 28, 2016. Despite the legislative logjam created by the impending election, and the failure to pass a similar bill during the last term of Congress, there is a significant probability that the bill will pass into law.
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