“Governments can control property like patents,” says a former worldwide IP executive. “They don’t as easily control trade secrets.”
These are the words of trade secret expert, author and Silicon Valley litigator James Pooley. They are spoken in the first episode of the second season of the podcast series, Understanding IP Matters, available now.
The episode is called The Secret is Out – Trade Secrets are Driving Competitive Advantage.
Contrary to what many people think, says Pooley, trade secrets can prevent companies from hiding assets and allow for more sharing of information.
Good Confidentiality Encourages Sharing
“One of those things that is counterintuitive, but really deeply important and true, is that allowing companies to control access to their information with enforceable relationships of confidentiality actually leads to more dissemination of knowledge that they would otherwise hoard.
“The data that they have would not be shared because they’d be too nervous. Allowing the IP system to enforce promises of confidentiality means that worldwide collaborations and other sharing can take place that wouldn’t otherwise happen. This is a challenge — making sure that people understand that trade secrets actually enhance innovation.”
Pooley is the foremost expert on trade secrets, a mysterious area of the law that eludes almost everyone – even lawyers. He has worked for several leading law firms, and served for five years as Deputy Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. He is a supporter of patent certainty, but also believes there is growing opportunity for trade secrets in and evolving innovation landscape.
His commentary pieces on the dangers of a Covid-19 vaccine patent waiver have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and many other publications. Pooley is a member of the Intellectual Property Hall of Fame and is on the advisory board of the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU). He is an ardent supporter of IP education.
Pooley’s most recent book is SECRETS: Managing Information Assets in the Age of Cyberespionage.
Season Two – A Range of Guests
Upcoming UIPM guests include Gary Lauder, Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist, inventor and technology investor; former Bloomberg News IP reporter Sue Decker and Gene Quinn, IPWatchdog publisher and editor, and David Lowery, lead singer for rock band Cracker, who is responsible for 15 albums and four Gold Records.
Lowery is also a copyright advocate who led a class action suit against Spotify that resulted in a $43 million fund being formed to pay songwriters and publishers royalties owed them.
The Trade Secret episode will be available on Wednesday September 21st on the CIPU website, as well as on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and wherever you listen.
The other episodes will be available every two weeks. Season 1, is available in its entirety here.
Image source: CIPU; understandingip.org