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This section references the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) and the United States Code (“USC”) as they pertain to Intellectual Property law. There is a significant difference between these two. Intellectual Property laws covering copyrights, patents and trademarks are in the USC while the CFR establishes rules for the agencies that implement the laws passed by Congress. Laws passed by Congress (the Legislative branch of the government) are codified and made part of the U.S. Code (USC). The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) concerns the rules of departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the government.

There is no federal statute allowing the registration of trade secrets, but the “Economic Espionage Act”, passed in 1996 makes theft or misappropriation of trade secrets a crime with heavy penalties. Additionally, 46 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands have adopted the “Uniform Trade Secrets Act” (UTSA), which defends trade secrets under the civil law system. The only four states not to adopt the UTSA are Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Texas.

There are certain acts you will hear called by the names of the legislators who were instrumental in their passage. For instance, the Lanham Act is codified as USC Title 15, Chapter 22, otherwise known as the “Trademark Act”. The Bayh-Dole Act, also called the “University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act” is codified as USC Title 35.

Federal Laws: State Laws:

Additional Resources

Lawyering the Frontier of Science

Legal Fundamentals of IP Law

Why Protecting IP Rights is Important

IP Rights and the Pharmaceutical Industry

The Rise of IP Protection in the American University

Scientist Says Deal Cost Her, University Millions

Do IP Rights Stimulate R&D and Productivity Growth

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