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A deeper dive into the use of trade secrecy and startups

In a June seminar in Australia, Elon Law’s David S. Levine shared preliminary results of an empirical study assessing when and why software and biotechnology startups now use secrecy laws – rather than filing for patents or copyrights – to protect their intellectual property.

Associate Professor David S. Levine

Many startup companies are using secrecy laws in the United States rather than traditional methods of protecting their ideas and products, and an Elon University School of Law scholar is at the forefront of emerging research to assess what that means.

Elon Law Associate Professor David S. Levine, an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, traveled in June to Swinburne University in Australia to share with students and researchers the early findings of data showing these trends.

The research seminar was hosted by the Centre for Transformative Innovation and Swinburne Law School.

Working in collaboration with Ted Sichelman of the University of San Diego Law School, Levine described for his seminar audience what has been discovered about the propensity of startups to “choose secrecy over patenting.”

Their data was drawn from the Berkley Patent Survey and tracks the use of trade secrets by U.S. startups in the software, biotechnology, medical devices and hardware industries.

Levine is a 2016-2017 Visiting Research Collaborator at Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy. He is also the founder and host of Hearsay Culture on KZSU-FM, an information policy, intellectual property law and technology talk show named as a top five podcast in the ABA's Blawg 100 of 2008.

His scholarship focuses on the operation of intellectual property law at the intersection of technology and public life, specifically information flows in the lawmaking and regulatory process and intellectual property law's impact on public and private secrecy, transparency and accountability.

Eric Townsend,
7/1/2017 8:55 AM