UAkron to launch Global Trade Secret Institute in Spring 2021

For Mark Schultz, coming to the University of Akron School of Law almost a year ago as director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology was an opportunity to bring everything he’d been working on in the area of IP with scholars, businesses and policy professionals under one roof. 

In January 2020, Schultz secured a substantial grant from CREATe.org (the Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade) for the launch of Akron’s Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology’s new Global Trade Secret Institute (GTSI), which will be up and running in Spring 2021. 

The mission of CREATe.org, founded in 2011, is to provide practical resources to educate organizations on managing risk and improving governance and compliance.

“Trade secrets are an increasingly important asset for businesses,” said Schultz, who is also the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Chair in Intellectual Property Law at Akron. “More and more [trade secrets] are recognized as an important form of intellectual property. Yet this area of law hasn’t received the same attention as others. But this is changing.”

Schultz said this emerging area of law is great for new lawyers and law students because there is a chance to get in on an area of law and build a career where there are greater opportunities and ways to establish a reputation quickly. Schultz added that a large group of Akron law students worked in the summer on particular projects for the Institute.   

The launch of the GTSI also pairs Schultz with his former colleague, Dr. Douglas Lippoldt, who will join as distinguished research scholar and senior professorial lecturer in intellectual property. The two collaborated several years ago to co-author the Trade Secrets Protection Index (TSPI), a measure of the strength of national trade secret laws originally created for the OECD.

Lippoldt, who recently retired from his position as chief trade economist at HSBC Bank USA, previously served as a senior expert at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). He is also the author of several scholarly and policy papers and has taught at the Paris Institute of Political Studies.

“We’ve been friends and collaborators for some time,” Schultz said. “I’m really excited and eager to get back to work with Doug, and take our projects further.”

GTSI will regularly update and publish the TSPI and related research.

Among other initiatives, GTSI also will assume leadership of the Trade Secret Best Practices Dialogue, an ongoing public-private multilateral dialogue that seeks to improve the quality and understanding of trade secret protection, the law school said. 

The University of Akron’s intellectual property program has been around nearly 25 years and is one of the oldest IP programs in Ohio.  

“There is a great support network,” Schultz said. “That gives us a unique strength to build on.” 

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