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Tech Summit to feature energy, life sciences, nanotechnology, and wireless & telecommunications - April 12, 2007

More than 40 technology business leaders will share how Washington state companies are succeeding worldwide and how your company can succeed as well. Washington Technology Center hosts the 2007 Washington State Technology Summit on April 12, 2007 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue.

Related WTC links:

  • 2007 Washington State Technology Summit

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  • Grant Proposals due April 26, 2007

    Washington Technology Center is currently accepting applications for its next round of Research and Technology Development (RTD) Awards. WTC awards more than $1.2 million annually to projects that partner Washington companies with academic and non-profit research teams.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Research and Technology Development program

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  • Avoiding Litigation Over Your Confidential Intellectual Property

    Guest Article

    By Brett Hertzberg, Regina Vogel Culbert and Ben Byer
    Merchant & Gould

    Disclosure of intellectual property and other confidential information is often necessary when negotiating with potential business partners or when seeking venture capital. But if this information is not properly protected, you could lose funding and end up in costly litigation. In many cases, a properly drafted non-disclosure agreement entered into before discussing confidential information offers some protection. But it is important to be aware of the legal issues, and to tailor your confidentiality agreement and your actions to maximize protection.

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    Disclosure may vitiate IP rights.
    Many of the rights associated with intellectual property (IP) may be lost if confidentiality is not properly maintained. For example, trade secrets only receive legal protection when they are maintained in strict secrecy. International patent rights may be lost when an invention is disclosed to the public before a patent application is filed. While domestic patents currently enjoys a one year grace period between first public disclosure and the filing of a U.S. patent application, proposed legislative changes may eliminate this grace period resulting in a loss of rights immediately after public disclosures are made.

    To preserve IP rights, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) should clearly state that the bound party agrees to protect the confidentiality of information and not disclose it to third parties. In addition, it is important for the parties to define standards by which the recipient must protect the confidential information. For instances where a sophisticated recipient already has strong protection mechanisms for its own confidential information, the parties can agree to apply those measures to the disclosed confidential information. But where the recipient has low standards or no standards at all, the NDA should specify the manner in which confidential information should be protected, and steps should be taken to ensure that each party understands and complies with the confidentiality obligation.

    Anticipate Unintentional disclosure and ownership disputes.
    To avoid unintentional disclosure, the confidential information covered by the NDA should be clearly identified, and the consequences of unauthorized disclosures made clear. A specific description of what is being disclosed is important evidence should a dispute arise. It is far easier to prove what was disclosed by a written agreement than by testimony of recalled meetings and discussions. In many cases, oral discussion identifying and characterizing confidential information cannot bind the parities without a written agreement.

    Define the scope of use.
    It is also important to define in clear terms the scope of proper use of the information. A typical provision can specify that the information may only be used for purposes of evaluation. In that manner, litigation involving the scope of permissions granted may be avoided.

    Avoid unintentional rights transfer.
    In some cases, uncontrolled use of disclosed confidential information may create an implied license, or worse, be interpreted as a transfer of rights. The recipient of the information may then be entitled to royalty-free use of the intellectual property and other confidential information. Many agreements state that the disclosed confidential information remains the property of the discloser, and further emphasizes that the discloser may use the information for any purpose without any obligation to the recipient. It is also prudent to expressly state in the NDA that nothing be construed as granting or implying any transfer of rights.

    A properly drafted disclosure agreement can operate to protect important intellectual property, and deter costly litigation over ownership and use.

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    Authors Brett A. Hertzberg, Managing Partner, Gina Vogel Culbert, a litigator, and Ben Byer, a patent attorney, are attorneys with the intellectual property firm of Merchant & Gould in its Seattle office.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Visit Merchant & Gould

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  • Dr. Dirk Weiss joins WTC as senior research scientist

    As a senior research scientist with Washington Technology Center, Dirk Weiss assumes responsibility for the DARPA-funded nanolithography project. Dirk’s graduate degrees are in physics and materials science from Freie Universität Berlin and Max-Planck-Institute for Metals Research (Stuttgart, Germany), respectively. He completed his postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in February 2005, where he had built a transistor using single nanoparticles. He subsequently worked at United Technologies Research Center on renewable energy technologies. Dirk and his family recently moved to the Seattle area from Boston.

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    Discover WSU - April 10, 2007 in Pullman, Wash.

    A networking event for companies and WSU researchers seeking research & development opportunities.

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    Converting cutting-edge research into commercial products is critical to the economic vitality of Washington state. At Washington State University, this technology transfer is happening thanks to strong linkages between industry and research partners.

    Co-hosted by the Washington Technology Center and Washington State University, and sponsored by Sirti, Discover WSU: Science and Industry Collaboration will highlight the innovative collaborations between WSU researchers and Washington companies in the areas of life sciences, advanced materials, and computing and electronics. Event participants will hear presentations by several WSU researchers and Washington companies including a team that received state funding through the Washington Technology Center’s Research and Technology Development grant program.

    This event provides Washington State University researchers and companies with an ideal venue to network, present their innovations, and discover new opportunities for working together. In addition, there will be a call for posters for presentations and/or displays for this event.

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    Micro Nano Breakthrough Conference - Sept. 10-12, 2007

    The 2007 Micro Nano Breakthrough Conference in Portland will focus on nanotechnology development.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Micro Nano Breakthrough Conference site

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  • Academic Leader Alex K-Y. Jen Appointed to WTC Board

    Governor Chris Gregoire recently appointed Professor Alex K-Y. Jen, of the University of Washington to the Washington Technology Center (WTC) board of directors. Jen, Boeing-Johnson Chair Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, came to University of Washington in 1999 after two years at Northeastern University which was preceded by a private sector career at Allied-Signal Inc, EniChem America and ROI Technology.

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    Professor Jen was appointed Acting Chair of the MSE Department in September 2005 and in 2006 was also named Director of the newly established Institute of Advanced Materials & Technology. He is a Fellow of SPIE and AAAS and is an Endowed Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    WTC’s 19-member board serves as an advisory arm to the state-charted agency, which promotes technology and innovation-based economic development throughout Washington.

    The following academic and business leaders make up WTC’s board: Michael Bisesi, Seattle University; Ralph Cavalieri, Washington State University; Jon K. Clemens, Sharp Laboratories of America; Michael Cockrill, formerly of mixxer; Hal Dengerink, Washington State University Vancouver; Dennis Dyck, Washington State University Spokane; Jon Eliassen, Terrapin Capital Group LLC; Roger Gulrajani, Microsoft, Corp.; Robin Halliday, DIS Corporation; Paul Hutton, Thought Engineering, LLC; Alex K-Y Jen, University of Washington; Johannes Koch; Arlan Norman, Western Washington University; Kim Pearman-Gillman, formerly of Itron; Linden Rhodes, Seattle Ventures; Katherine James Schuitemaker, The Resonance Group; Heidi Schumann, Fluency Group, Inc.; John Titus, Aero Controls; and Katherine R. Tuttle, Providence Medical Research Center.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC board member biographies

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  • Emerging Developments in Nanoscale Lithography

    Article by Dr. Dirk Weiss, Senior Research Scientist, Washington Technology Center
    As the Complementary Metal–Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) industry transitions in 2007 from 65-nanometer to 45-nanometer structures, emerging developments in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography and nanoimprint lithography (NIL) may advance the industry toward even smaller feature sizes in the next decade. Theses were two of the main topics discussed at the recent SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference in San Jose, California.

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    While the technology for shifting from 65-nanometer to 45-nanometer structures is available now, the exponential increase in cost-of-ownership for 32-nm technology tools may pose a barrier to further miniaturization.

    EUV research for 32-nm technology is aimed at overcoming a variety of challenges of this advanced nanoscale lithography. Ultra-high vacuum systems are required for sub-15-nm-wavelenth radiation. New infrastructures for mask fabrication and metrology must be created. Optical flare, mirror contamination and plasma stability are also issues. New resists are needed to overcome resolution limited by acid diffusion.

    Cost is a barrier with 32-nm technology. Compared to the cost of more than $30 million for a modern optical water-immersion scanner for 45-nm technology, the expected price for a EUV scanner for 32-nm technology will approach $100 million.

    NIL, which was developed only 10 years ago, represents an even more disruptive approach than EUV. Proponents argue that the lower cost of ownership positions NIL as a viable alternative to EUV for the 32-nm node and beyond. The CMOS industry, however, remains very skeptical. The general consensus is that the first commercial products with nanostructures made by NIL will be non-CMOS applications such as magnetic hard drives, light emitting diodes (LEDs) or sensors.

    The NIL process is comparably simple and comes in two types: Ultraviolet (UV)-NIL and thermal NIL. In the former, a transparent (quartz) mold is pressed into a low-viscosity UV-curable resist; the resist is hardened with a flash of UV light before the mold is removed. In the latter, a solid resist is heated above its glass-transition temperature before the molding process. The patterned resist can be either used as an etch mask, or directly incorporated into a device. Thermal NIL is more versatile for patterning a variety of materials, whereas UV NIL has more stringent requirements for the resist such as low viscosity and UV cross-linking properties. UV NIL is performed at room temperature, which eliminates problems associated with differential thermal expansion.

    The three main advantages of NIL are the lower cost of ownership, the extremely high resolution (2 nm feature size has been achieved in the laboratory) and parallel fabrication as opposed to the very slow process of serial writing with electron beams or scanning probe microscopy. The main challenges are limited overlay accuracy, relatively high defect density, and mask metrology (mask features are 1:1, whereas features on photomasks are scaled up by a ratio of 4:1). These challenges would be less critical in non-CMOS applications with less-stringent defect tolerance and no or less-stringent overlay requirements.

    Products incorporating NIL-patterned nanostructures are not yet found on the market, but there is very high activity in industrial and academic R&D; laboratories in developing such applications. The comparably low cost of NIL, which is as low as $500,000 for a basic tool, will position this technology as ideal for small companies and academic applied research environments.

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