Medical Plastics Virtual Symposium 2021

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Tips, Tricks, and Trade Secrets: Navigating Intellectual Property for Medical Plastics

Patricia Stepp, Ph.D., Director of Intellectual Property – Life Sciences, Skysong Innovations

Abstract: The intellectual property (IP) world for biotechnology is ever evolving and it is always important to keep up to date on best practices to protect your inventions. In addition to medical plastics, devices, and new materials, the world of biotechnology is rapidly integrating artificial intelligence to enhance existing technologies. While IP is typically directed toward patents to protect a technical innovation or new manufacturing process, it is also important to understand the role of trade secrets and design patents. When developing a strategy for IP protection, understanding current market trends and incorporating competitive intelligence can help give the edge needed in this industry. Since the America Invents Act (AIA), the US is now a first to file system. Because of this, there is a rush to file patent applications as early as possible, but it remains crucial to have sufficient written description. Topics that will be addressed include: What are the important aspects to have in order to file a patent application? Should you file a patent application or consider a trade secret? When is a design patent important for your product? What is the difference between freedom to operate and patentability? What changes were made during the Covid-19 pandemic for IP practitioners? We will discuss these crucial questions to help develop the appropriate IP strategy for your company or institution.

Biography: Patricia Stepp serves as the Director of Intellectual Property for the Life Sciences team at Skysong Innovations since July of 2018. Her role involves working closely with ASU faculty and staff and Skysong Innovations’ business development team with facilitating invention disclosures, evaluating technologies, monitoring patent preparation and prosecution, and managing IP.


She is a registered patent agent with experience in patent preparation and prosecution and portfolio management in a wide range of areas including biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, chemical technology, polymeric food packaging, and polymeric medical packaging. Prior to joining the Skysong Innovations team, she worked as a patent agent at Sealed Air Corporation and Pepper Hamilton, LLP. Her research experience includes research at the University of Pittsburgh focusing on stem cells and biomarkers in orthopedics and at InDevR, a biotechnology start up from the University of Colorado – Boulder.


Patricia has a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Arkansas and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. She completed a post-doctoral position at the Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Czech Academy of Sciences focusing on viral transformation, transfection, and recombinant protein expression. Additionally, she has 11 technical publications in the areas of magnetizable drug delivery, medical devices, flow cytometry, and medical imaging.

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