Innovation Review

Monthly information on a variety of economic, business, and technology related legal news as well as highlights and profiles of resources and events across New York state.


News From The Center

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Spring 2020 at the Innovation Law Center

The spring 2020 semester is well underway, and the Innovation Law Center (ILC) is researching  twelve new technologies for companies around the state. Technical areas span clean energy, medical devices, materials, autonomous systems, software innovation, and early stage research vetting for tech transfer. The students are working with  three new adjunct professors: Hoda Rifai-Bashjawish, Brian Gerling and Dave Eilers. Hoda Rifai-Bashjawish is an IP attorney experienced in patent, trade secret, trademark, and copyright portfolio counseling, protection and enforcement. Rifai-Bashjawish has a dual technical background in biomedical engineering and physics. Beyond teaching in the program, she is an attorney for Leason Ellis LLP. Rifai-Bashjawish earned both her bachelor’s and JD from Columbia University. Brian Gerling is a technology lawyer focused on regulatory and transactional issues for emerging tech companies. His practice includes IP, corporate, data privacy, cybersecurity and economic development matters. In addition to his role as adjunct professor, Gerling is senior counsel at Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC in Syracuse. Gerling’s J.D. is from the  Syracuse University College of Law where he participated in the ILC. He earned his bachelor of science in biology from Binghamton University . Finally, Dave Eilers is an adjunct professor for both the ILC and the Whitman School of Management’s MBA@Syracuse program. Eilers specializes in healthcare, with an emphasis on transformational innovation and strategic growth. He has experience leading and consulting various healthcare organizations, including medical practices, multi-national enterprises and NGOs. In addition to his teaching roles, Eilers works with the American Hospital Association, Launch NY and CoachCare. Eilers is a Syracuse University alum with a dual degree in tele-communications and marketing management.


IP/Regulatory Law Watch


Patent Litigation Data Through 2016 Now Available

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has updated its Patent Litigation Dataset to include information on cases such as patent infringement, ownership disputes, and malpractice between 2003 and 2016. The dataset provides researchers with a single, comprehensive source that can be used to conduct studies on patent litigation. The information is a part of the USPTO’s free, publicly-accessible database that now contains more than 81,000 district court cases dating back to 1963. To learn more about the database and its latest update, click here.


Illinois Becomes Latest US State to Recognize Blockchain

On January 1, 2020, Illinois became the latest US state to recognize blockchain as it enacted the Blockchain Technology Act. Blockchain is defined by the act as “an electronic record created by the use of a decentralized method by multiple parties to verify and store a digital record of transactions which is secured by the use of a cryptographic hash of previous transaction information.” The Act provides legal recognition to smart contracts and blockchain-based records and signatures, thereby deeming them admissible in court as evidence. The Act prevents local government from imposing taxes or fees on the use of blockchain or smart contract, and from requiring anyone to obtain a certificate, license or permit to use blockchain or smart contract. Illinois’ recognition of Blockchain follows similar legislation in Vermont and Arizona. New York State has established a Digital Currency Task Force to study how to regulate cryptocurrency in the state. For more information about the actions of New York and other states, click here. On the federal level a discussion draft of legislation to regulate digital assets is being circulated for commentary. To learn more about the Blockchain Technology Act in Illinois, click here.


Around New York State


New York Farm Staff Can Now Include Drones

Empire Drone Co. and Dropcopter, two NYS companies, have both obtained Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization to spray and fertilize crops with drones in NYS. The 14 CFR part 137 certification is for agricultural operations and requires compliance with enumerated safety standards.  The two are amongst just a handful of companies operating under-55-pound drones across the country with this certification. The service, which the company will begin offering to farmers this spring, includes using drones to apply pesticides, herbicides and seeds to orchards and farms. With the innovative service, Empire Drone Co. aims to increase farming efficiency, save farmers money and prevent human contact with harmful chemicals. To learn more about the approved service, click here.

Workforce Development Program for Buffalo Youth Receives $1.5 Million Grant

Brian Higgins, congressman of Buffalo, has announced a $1.5 million federal grant for the Service Collaborative of Western New York. The grant will support the collaborative’s YouthBuild: Leaders Under Construction program. The program offers job training targeted to high school-level coursework. The $1.5 million grant will serve 86 individuals, and expand into advanced manufacturing, an in-demand industry in the region. To learn more about the grant and YouthBuild Buffalo, click here.


StartFast Accepting Applications for 2020 Investments

StartFast is accepting applications for its 2020 investment period. A unique, value-add pre-seed venture firm, StartFast seeks applications from early-stage, high-growth tech startups in a variety of industries. Chosen applicants will receive $50,000 in initial investment, followed by a potential $50-$750k in follow-on funding. By working with StartFast, startups can expect to find their product-market fit, gain early market traction, develop a scalable business model and raise larger rounds of funding. To learn more about StartFast, click here. To apply for its 2020 investments, click here.


CNYBAC Medical Device Innovation Challenge Accepting Applications for 2020 Competition

The CNY Biotech Accelerator is accepting applications for its 2020 Medical Device Innovation Challenge until May 31. The contest, which is funded by Empire State Development, will provide selected participants with work space, intensive mentorship, access to research partners and experts, and networking opportunities. Additionally, participants will have access to other CNY Biotech Accelerator events including the Concept to Commercialization Boot Camp and the NEXT Innovation Conference. To learn more about the 2020 Medical Device Innovation Challenge and apply, click here.


FuzeHub Manufacturing Grants Now Open

The application for FuzeHub’s Manufacturing Grants is now open and will accept entries until February 28, 2019. The program is designed to foster collaboration between companies and non-profits in New York State that operate in the manufacturing industry. Funded by the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund, the grants aim to bring success to early-stage small and medium size manufacturing and technology companies and aid in the development of enhanced products and services, new manufacturing processes, and technology transfer. To learn more about the Manufacturing Grants competition, click here. To apply, click here.




Benefits of ISO 14001 Environmental Management Workshop

February 26, 2020 – Insyte Consulting, Buffalo, NY

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) will host a workshop on the benefits of ISO 14001 environmental management in partnership with Insyte Consulting on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. The event, which will run from 12:30-4:00 pm, will help participants to understand the necessary elements for an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS). Benefits of ISO 14001 EMS include a reduction in energy usage and waste generation and increase in environmental sustainability. To learn more about the workshop and register, click here.

MACNY’s Cyber Security Summit

March 13, 2020 – The Lodge at Welch Allyn, Skaneateles Falls, NY

MACNY will host its first-ever Cyber Security Summit on March 13, 2020 from 8:30 am – 3:00 pm. A practical summit, the event will feature presentations from national and local cybersecurity experts. Breakout sessions include cyber insurance, legal protection, cyber compliance, crisis management and network infrastructure. The keynote address will be given by Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence and current National Security Analyst for NBC News. To learn more about the Cyber Security Summit and register, click here.


MedTech Meet Up

March 26, 2020 – Syracuse University Center of Excellence, Syracuse, NY

MedTech will host its first meet up of 2020 on Thursday, March 26, 2020 from 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm. The event will feature presentations from the Bioinspired Institute, Syracuse’s SUSTAIN program and student presenters, in addition to a tour of the Syracuse University Center of Excellence. The meet up will also provide a networking reception. To learn more about the MedTech Meet Up, click here. To register, click here.


Save The Date: CYNBAC’s Concept to Commercialization Boot Camp

Save the date for the upcoming Concept to Commercialization Boot Camp on October 15-16, 2020! The event will be hosted by the Innovation Resource Center, Empire State Development and CNY Biotech Accelerator, and Upstate Medical University. The Boot Camp will cover topics including business model canvas, intellectual property, manufacturing, business development, etc. To learn more about the Concept to Commercialization Boot Camp, click here.


Save The Date: MedTech 16th Annual Conference

Save the date for the upcoming MedTech Conference on October 21-22, 2020! An event focused on bio/med, the conference will focus on bringing innovations to the market, tackling workforce challenges, and bolstering New York’s economy. Additionally, the conference will feature speed networking, a tech showcase, a C-suite roundtable, and several other activities. To learn more about MedTech 2020, click here.


Save The Date: NYS Innovation Summit

Save the date for the upcoming New York State Innovation Summit on October 27-28, 2020! The event, which is hosted by FuzeHub and NYSTAR, is aimed at New York State startups, developers, manufacturers and businesses looking to showcase and discover new and emerging technologies that support innovation and drive business growth. The Summit will celebrate the state’s leadership in technology-fronted economic growth and feature expert speakers in biotechnology, energy information, artificial intelligence and many other industries. Registration for the event will begin in spring 2020. To learn more about the New York State Innovation Summit, click here.


FuzeHub Events

Visit the FuzeHub Events page here to learn about upcoming New York manufacturing industry networking opportunities and events!

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Upstate Venture Connect Events

Visit the Upstate Venture Connect calendar here to learn about upcoming Upstate New York networking and entrepreneurial events!

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