A number of acquisitions have appeared in the food and beverage industry in the past several years, including Kraft and Heinz, JAB Holding and Keurig, and most recently the thwarted acquisition of Unilever by Kraft Heinz. Companies would be wise to not only assess the business landscape of potential consolidation in the industry, but consider the IP landscape and patent owner shifts if more of the largest food & beverage corporations merge.
The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) of 2016 was signed into law on May 11th, adding national and international protection for trade secrets to the already-existing state-level laws, which are allowed to remain in place according to the new federal statute. The DTSA taken together with the AIA’s prior use protections, provides 2-part protection, which may allow a company to continue to use its trade secreted inventions even if another entity subsequently patents the invention. This new paradigm is a game-changer for IP strategy - especially for defense, as it adds another route for IP protection outside the usual "race to the patent office".
It's a bleak geography for many of the top corporations. The top companies in the mobile advertising space, with the exception of Google and Yahoo, even come close to being the top patent holders in the sector.
The recent decision in the Alice v. CLS Bank case (Alice) has had a profound impact on patent litigation and prosecution, but what impact has it had on IP strategies? Many of our clients are wondering how this legal decision impacts them strategically.