Trade secrets: an alternative for life sciences IP?


John Stone

Trade secrets: an alternative for life sciences IP?

canbedone /

Amid confusion over patent eligibility, US life sciences IP owners should consider trade secret law when building their IP protection strategy, argues John A Stone of DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin.

Over the past decade, three high-profile US Supreme Court decisions—known by their shorthand names as Alice, Mayo, and Myriad—have generated significant uncertainty over what is and isn’t patentable. 

This has made US trade secret law an increasingly valuable tool for protecting IP. Uncertainty around patent eligibility reduces investment and related innovation, and inhibits medical research advances. Protecting IP as trade secrets can also foster joint ventures, such as those between startups that create the IP and more established companies that can mass-produce, market and distribute the products. 

As a result, companies often use trade secrets in tandem with, or instead of, patents to protect their IP. Given the role that life science and biotech IP can play in healthcare, increased use of trade secret protection in these sectors benefits society as a whole, as well as individual industries and companies. 

Trade secrets, life sciences, IP, patents, DNA, Supreme Court, Myriad, DSTA, UTSA, biotechnology, Congress, USPTO