Detroit — Paul T. Engel of Howard & Howard PLLC, who practices intellectual property law with a focus on patent preparation/prosecution, will deliver the keynote address at the Detroit Rubber Group's fall technical and lunch meeting.
The meeting is set for Thursday, Nov. 19 at 11 a.m., at Pasquale's Restaurant in Royal Oak, Mich.
Engel, who is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, will give a talk titled, “Trade Secret vs. Patent — In the Polymer Industry.” Engel previously worked as chemist, research scientist and production manager at Sika Corp, developing acoustic and structural materials and products for automotive, industrial, building and construction markets.
According to Engel, a trade secret attains economic value from not being readily known or ascertainable and must be maintained a secret through “reasonable efforts.” Trade secrets can offer value if they cannot be reversed engineered and are maintained, he said.
Trade secrets such as the formulas for WD-40 and Coca Cola have been maintained for years, as have thousands of other trade secrets. Engel says they are vulnerable to independent development, and maintaining trade secrets can be difficult — especially with pervasive challenges such as job hopping.
On the other hand, to obtain a patent, an applicant must publically disclose an invention. In turn, the owner is entitled for a limited time to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the patented invention. All patents are trade secrets, but a decision is made to go further, to pursue a patent. Engel will examine that decision, with respect to the intellectual property of polymers and the processes thereof.
Cost to attend the event is $75; $25 for original equipment manufacturers.
Proceeds go to the DRG scholarship program for high school graduates.