Patents vs. Trade Secrets: Panel Discussion on Considerations for Computing and Consumer Products

Please join us on May 16, 2023, for the next monthly CLE luncheon. This month’s CLE will be held 12:00-1:15 pm by webinar. We anticipate 1.00 General CLE credit in Ohio for this event.

Our speakers will be Ali Anoff (P&G), Mark Vallone (IBM), and Wade Lin (PhenomeX).

  Ali Anoff, Procter & Gamble

Mark Vallone, IBM

Wade Lin, PhenomeX

Innovative companies must balance filing patents and maintaining trade secrets to secure competitive advantage. It can be difficult to determine which option will offer the best protection since patents and trade secrets seem to present opposing choices. A patent holder in the United States can obtain 20 years of exclusivity in exchange for a public disclosure of information. While trade secrets theoretically last forever, they only ensure protection while the information is not discovered by the public, and trade secrets, unlike patents, can be reverse engineered or otherwise independently obtained. 

Companies must carefully consider whether seeking patents or trade secret protection is preferred for their valuable IP assets. It is important for each company to understand the competitive landscape and their business goals when making these decisions and companies will reach different conclusions depending on their industry, size, and location of manufacturing and sales. Our panelists will consider these issues while working through two scenarios that contrast how trade secrets and patents are used in computer software and hardware and consumer packaged goods industries.

The webinar event will be 60 minutes.

Registration is:

  • free for CincyIP members, 
  • free for students and academics, and 
  • $15.00 for non-members. 

Register here by Friday, May 12, at 5:00 PM.

About the Speakers:

Ali Anoff is Director and Assistant General Counsel at Procter & Gamble. She is the primary patent attorney for Olay® skin care, a brand with net sales of more than $1 billion annually. Ali provides strategic legal counsel to the business to create and protect global intellectual property assets. Her practice focuses on IP strategy development, preparation and prosecution of global patent applications, freedom-to-practice assessments, enforcement, and due diligence.

Mark Vallone is Senior IP Counsel at IBM, where he manages IBM’s in-house team that primarily handles U.S. patent application preparation and prosecution matters.  Mark is also active in IBM patent strategy and policy matters.  He formerly led the team responsible for IBM’s U.S. Patent Procedures, which are followed by IBM’s in-house and outside patent counsel.  He also served as lead IP Counsel for IBM Cloud and IBM Commerce, for which he supported transactions and product clearances, led patent procurement operations, and provided counsel on a wide range of other IP matters.  He received his B.S. in Computer Science from The Pennsylvania State University in 1998, after which he spent five years as a software developer for IBM in the areas of network security, distributed computing and e-commerce.  He received his J.D., summa cum laude, from Syracuse University in 2006. He is a registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is a member of the New York State Bar.

Wade Lin is a patent agent registered in Taiwan and the United States and also qualified in China. His scientific background is molecular biology. He had over ten years of experience working at one of the biggest law firms in Taiwan specializing in global patent prosecution, patent analyses and representing clients in patent infringement litigations. He currently works at PhenomeX as a Senior Patent Agent.