DC Dispatch - April 15, 2016

DC Dispatch - April 15, 2016

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Defend Trade Secrets Act Passes Senate

The Senate has now passed: a bill that “amends the federal criminal code to create a private civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.” The Defend Trade Secrets Act (S. 1890) “authorizes a trade secret owner to file a civil action in a U.S. district court seeking relief for trade secret misappropriation related to a product or service in interstate or foreign commerce. It establishes remedies, such as an injunction and damages. The statute of limitation is set at five years from the date of discovery of the misappropriation.” As Patently-O notes, “[T]he identical bill H.R. 3326 is pending in the House of Representatives and includes 127 co-sponsors (mostly Republican).  President Obama has announced his support as well.” See the Senate Judiciary Committee press release on the bill, and a guest post on the bill at the blog IP-Watchdog. (Original Sources: congress.gov, Patently-O blog, IP-Watchdog blog)

New from USPTO

New Online Payment Tools

The USPTO has launched: “two new online fee payment tools to the public:  Financial Manager and the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront.” From the Director’s Blog, “[For several years, the USPTO has been making significant progress in modernizing its information technology (IT) infrastructure and tools for both employees and the public. … These new tools incorporate feedback from customers that we received through outreach efforts, including interviews, surveys, and user design sessions. The result for users is increased efficiency, better information, and a workflow that is better streamlined to integrate with users’ business processes.” See the link for the tools’ new features. (Original Sources: USPTO web site)

Issues Final PTAB Rules

The USPTO recently issued: its final rules “to make targeted modifications for trial practice before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), proactively addressing concerns of its users and improving proceedings…” From the Director’s blog, “[S]pecifically, the new rules will: allow patent owners to include, with their opposition to a petition to institute a proceeding, any relevant testimonial evidence, addressing concerns that patent owners are disadvantaged by previous rules that limited the evidence that could be presented with their preliminary response to the petition; add a Rule 11-type certification for papers filed in a proceeding; clarify that the PTAB will use the claim construction standard used by district courts for patents that will expire during a proceeding and therefore, cannot be amended, while confirming the use of broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) for all other patents; and replace the current page limit with a word count limit for major briefings.” (Originals Sources: USPTO web site)

New from SBA

SBIR Road Show Continues

The SBA has recently launched: its “second year of the SBA-led Innovation Road Tour.” From the SBA press release, “[T]his year’s SBIR Road Tour, ‘Seeding America’s Future Innovations,’ is a national outreach effort targeting advanced technology communities, including women-owned and minority-owned small businesses in states that have underutilized funding opportunities through these programs.  Annually, the SBIR and STTR programs, sometimes called America’s largest seed fund, provides $2.5 billion in early stage funding to small businesses in the STEM fields.” See the Road Tour web site for more details on where and when these events will take place, and how to participate. (Original Sources: SBA web site)

SBIR/STTR Revisions

SBA has recently published: proposed amendments to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs' policy directives. From the April 7 (go to www.regulations.gov and search for SBIR and STTR Proposed Policy Directive - it won’t allow a direct external link to the pdf), “[T]his document proposes to revise the [SBIR and STTR programs’] Policy Directives. Specifically, the Small Business Administration proposes to combine the two directives into one document, clarify the data rights and Phase III preference afforded to SBIR and STTR small business awardees, add definitions relating to data rights, and clarify the benchmarks for progress towards commercialization.” See the notice for more details on the proposals. Deadline for comments is June 6, 2016. (Original Sources: Federal Register web site)

New FLC White Paper

The FLC continues to expand: its library of reference materials designed to support its members’ tech transfer efforts. A new edition to the Reference Materials section (found under the Learning Center tab on the newly-revised FLC web site) is the white paper titled From a PIs Perspective, How We Made a T2 Success. The authors, scientists at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, were responsible for developing a technology that was the basis of a 2015 FLC Excellence in T2 award -- a process to extract and recover phosphorus from poultry litter and animal manure solids. Their white paper describes, from the principal investigators’ perspective, how “[A]s part of this [tech transfer] process, a new and unexpected use for the technology emerged that was different from what [they] had imagined - to the extent that it helped build a new business model for [their] commercial partner.” Check out the Learning Center for other resources. (Original Sources: FLC web site)

Supreme Court IP Cases (April Update)

Patently-O has again provided: an update on pending Supreme Court cases having implications IP implications. See the post for a detailed review of where they stand as of early April. (Original Sources: Patently-O blog)

New From NSF

(Reports/Stats on S&E Graduate Students and Postdocs)

Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering, Fall 2014 provides “detailed data on graduate students and postdoctoral appointees in science, engineering, and selected health fields … including trends in graduate student enrollment and postdoctoral appointments, as well as counts of graduate students and postdoctoral appointees by sex, race and ethnicity, citizenship, field, and primary source and mechanism of support.” (Originals Sources: NSF web site)

Influx of Foreign Graduate Students and Inclusion of Newly Eligible Institutions Lead to a Significant Increase in U.S. Graduate Enrollment in Science and Engineering notes “the number of science and engineering (S&E) graduate students increased by 5.5% between 2013 and 2014, rising from 570,300 to 601,883. Much of this growth stems from a continuing increase in the enrollment of foreign graduate students on temporary visas, which grew by 7.4% between 2012 and 2013, and by 16.0% between 2013 and 2014.” (Original Sources: NSF web site)

Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2014 Report, summarizes trends “in U.S. doctoral education by using data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates, an annual census of research doctorate recipients from U.S. universities. Important trends in this population are highlighted in this report-including the representation of women, minorities, and foreign nationals; emergence of new fields of study; time to complete doctoral degree; and employment opportunities after graduation.” (Original Sources: NSF Web site) 

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Note: The DC Dispatch is a periodic update of selected items of interest to the FLC and technology transfer community -- i.e., current legislation, trends, reports, policy and other developments potentially affecting technology transfer or related activities -- designed to keep the community informed of relevant issues on a timely basis. Information is gleaned directly from a variety of sources (newsletters, email alerts, web sites, direct participation at events from the FLC DC Representative’s office, etc.) -- with original sources, contacts and links provided.

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