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Sarah M.D. Luth

Sarah’s practice focuses on all stages of intellectual property protection for complex chemical and biological technologies, including patent prosecution, strategic patent portfolio and brand development, and the protection of IP assets through privacy, data rights, and cybersecurity compliance. With patent prosecution experience in over 20 countries, Sarah leverages her knowledge of a wide array of intellectual property issues to assist clients in obtaining comprehensive patent protection while implementing data protection through technology design to mitigate current and future risk to IP assets. Sarah is the Co-Chair of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.

Before joining McKee, Voorhees & Sease, Sarah worked for the University of Iowa’s Technology Transfer Office, the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF), where she conducted market and legal analyses of emerging technologies and assisted biotech startups. Sarah is a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. She is also a certified privacy professional through the International Association of Privacy Professionals (CIPP/US).

  • Biotechnology Patents
  • Chemical Patents
  • Copyright and Media Law
  • Data Privacy and Cybersecurity
  • International
  • Litigation
  • Trade Secrets
  • Trademarks
  • Academic Research and Technology Transfer
  • Agritech
  • Chemistry, Material Sciences, and Nanotechnology
  • Consumer Products and Technology
  • Copyright, Media, Entertainment, And Branding
  • Food and Beverage Technologies
  • Pharma and Nutra

Professional Associations

American Bar Association

Iowa State Bar Association

Polk County Bar Association

Polk County Women Attorneys

International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Certified Information Privacy Professional for the United States (CIPP/US)

Downtown Des Moines Chamber

  • Board of Directors Member – Director At-Large
  • LEAP (Leadership Education Advancement Pipeline) Board Member


University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., with high distinction, 2017

  • Dean’s Award in International Intellectual Property, Business Associations, Contracts, Criminal Law, Topics in Criminal Law Practice and the Jurisprudence Award in the Iowa Medical Innovation Group Seminar

University of Iowa, M.A., Philosophy, 2017

Loras College, B.S., Biological Research & Philosophy, cum laude, 2013


“Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the United Kingdom: A Proposal for Moderate GMO Regulations Post-Brexit and an Opportunity in Genetically Modified Wheat,” Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, Vol. 22, No. 3 (2017).

“Complex Patent Litigation: Limiting Length, Limiting Intricacy,” St. Thomas Journal of Complex Litigation, Vol. 4 (2017).

“Ethical and Procedural Barriers to Accessing Critical Pharmaceutical Products via the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement,” The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, Vol. 20, No. 1 (2017).

“The Effects of Herbicides Atrazine and Glyphosate on Cell Density and Relative Chlorophyll α Fluorescence of Chlorophyta and Bacillariophyta,” Loras College Publication (2013).


Data Security: How to View a Potential Vulnerability as a Valuable Asset, ABI Taking Care of Business Conference (June 2023)

Data Leadership: Harnessing Your Data as a Value Driver, TAI Technology Summit (April 2023)

Preparation for the Deal, Panel Discussion for the Licensing Executive Society, Iowa Chapter. (Sept. 2022)

Beer & Branding, FemCity, Des Moines Chapter (Nov. 2021)

Owning & Protecting Your Brand, Iowa Brewer’s Guild Education Seminar & Tippling (i-BEST) (Nov. 2021)

Data Privacy & Cybersecurity, Fifth Judicial District of Iowa, Lunch & Learn Seminar Series (Oct. 2021)

Protecting IP in the Wake of GDPR, Cybersecurity, and Other Developments, Iowa State Bar Association, e-Commerce Section (Nov 2018)

Cybersecurity and Intellectual Property Protection, Iowa State Bar Association, eCommerce and Intellectual Property Law Seminar (Nov. 2018).

 A Cause of Action for Negligent Interference with the Right to Access Critical Medicines in Least-Developed Countries, The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Philosophy Department (Apr. 2017).

Bar & Court Admissions


S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa

S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa

United States Patent & Trademark Office

Four Key Cybersecurity Threats To Your Business

In today’s interconnected business environment, data drives business insights and technology are central to operations and customer interactions. While the digitalization of business operations and corporate data can provide immense benefits, it also creates new opportunities for bad actors. Cybersecurity measures help protect your business against vulnerabilities created by reliance on electronic data. It’s important […]

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2023 Cybersecurity Provisions in Iowa: What Your Business Should Be Doing

As previously discussed, in March of 2023, Iowa’s Governor signed into law a new comprehensive state privacy law. Just over six months after SF 262 was signed and during cybersecurity awareness month, we would like to focus on the cybersecurity provisions introduces in SF 262. Key changes to Iowa’s laws include amendments to Iowa Code […]

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Iowa Governor Signs into Law Comprehensive Consumer Privacy Law

On March 28, 2023 Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law Senate File 262 (SF 262). SF 262, scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2025, makes Iowa just the sixth U.S. state to pass a comprehensive state privacy law. The new law is a “global” consumer rights privacy law focused largely on general consumer […]

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How A.I. and Big Data Will (And Should) Change Your IP Strategy

The last two decades have seen an increasing recognition of the value of patent rights. In many industries, ownership of a substantial number of patents is a clear sign of a company’s innovation capacity and leadership in the industry. Despite the growing interest in patent protection, the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and […]

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Mochi Muffins and the Need to Develop Value-Conscious, Emotionally-Intelligent Trademark Portfolios

After much controversy, a Bay Area bakery has recently voluntarily surrendered its trademark for “mochi muffin.” Third Culture bakery, the self-declared “home of the mochi muffin” came under fire in June after the San Francisco Chronicle published an article accusing the bakery owners of obtaining a trademark for a “common term” and subsequently sending cease-and-desist letters to other businesses […]

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Radar-Based Sleep Trackers: Sweet Dreams or Privacy Nightmare?

It’s no secret that more people than ever are sleeping poorly.  A recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that more than half of all Americans have had problems sleeping since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even independent of the pandemic, an estimated 70 million Americans are believed to suffer from […]

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Upcoming Issues of Patent Eligibility in 2022: American Axle v. Neapco

2022 could bring about big changes in one of the most significant and murky areas of patent law: patent eligibility. In the upcoming year, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to take up a case which—in a Federal Circuit judge’s words—“bitterly divided” the appellate court on how to apply the law on patent eligibility. […]

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Psilocybin Patents Demonstrate Growth in the Psychedelics Market

Public and medical interest in the use of psychedelics has steadily been expanding since the 1990s. Psilocybin is one of the most well-known psychedelic compounds. Psilocybin, also known as “magic mushrooms” is a compound produced by several species of fungi, and which has both psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties. Although psilocybin is still considered a Schedule […]

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Export of Seeds Protected by Plant Breeder’s Rights: Despite Countries Enhancing Regulations, Foreign Certificates Provide More Comprehensive Protection

Shine Muscat grapes are a premium grape variety originally developed in Japan. They are particularly desirable because they are large, seedless, and have a high sugar content. Depending on location, the grapes can cost around 6,000 yen per pound (approximately $54 USD per pound), nearly 30 times the price of average green grapes in the […]

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When Business Relationship Information is Not a Trade Secret: Review by the Federal Circuit

On March 12, 2021 the Federal Circuit provided a precedential opinion affirming a Florida district court’s decision declining to seal information regarding a business relationship between two businesses where the party seeking redaction failed to prove that the information was a trade secret. Plaintiff DePuy and Defendant Veterinary Orthopedic Implants, Inc. (VOI) are competitors in […]

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USPTO Report on Intellectual Property in China: Value, Validity, and Volume

Last January the U.S. and China signed an Economic Trade Agreement which required China to overhaul its scheme of intellectual property protection. In October of 2020 the National People’s Congress passed new amendments to the Patent Law, which will come into effect on June 1, 2021. The most significant amendments to China’s patent law relate […]

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In a Galaxy Not So Far, Far Away: Millennial Falcon v. Millennium Falcon

In October the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued a decision regarding the opposition proceedings against the trademark application “Millennial Falcon.” The trademark application “Millennial Falcon,” filed by Applicant Ilan Moskowitz aka Captain Contingency was directed to “entertainment services in the nature of live visual and audio performances by a live musical performance group, […]

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Fungal Fashion: Mycelium ‘Leather’

Cultivation of fungi has occurred for thousands of years. Evidence of fermented beverages using yeast dates back to as early as 7000 BCE. In the modern era, fungi are commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry, food and beverage industry, plastics industry, and others. The fashion industry is increasingly seeking methods of making and incorporating sustainable […]

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“Now is the Time to Explore Big New Ideas:” Iowa Business Leaders Encourage Innovation, Resilience, in a Time of Uncertainty

The COVID-19 pandemic created and continues to create unprecedented levels of economic disruption in local and international communities. With so much uncertainty, business owners and entrepreneurs may feel the safest course of action is to minimize operations and delay expansion plans. In fact, they should do precisely the opposite, says Debi Durham, Director of the […]

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“T” is for Tesla and Trademark

Elon Musk recently revealed that his company “Tesla” was almost branded “Faraday.” On December 1, Musk tweeted “Tesla was almost called Faraday, as [the] original holder of Tesla Motors trademark refused to sell it to us!” When another Twitter user asked how Tesla eventually got the rights to the name, Musk responded “We sent the nicest […]

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If You Pop, You Better Stop

In the latest battle of branding, the Italian government has confiscated approximately 250 tubes of the “Prosecco & Pink Peppercorn” flavored Pringles from several grocery stores in the Veneto region. The Prosecco flavored Pringles were seized on the grounds that the use of the term “Prosecco” was allegedly not approved by the wine’s consortium of […]

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“The” Ohio State Tries to Trademark the Word “THE”

On August 8, 2019 The Ohio State University filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the word mark “THE” to be used in connection with clothing, namely “t-shirts, baseball caps and hats.” Unlike Ohio State’s other trademark applications, which cover the phrase “The Ohio State University” as a whole, […]

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10 Data Privacy and Security Practices Your Business Should Adopt

Data privacy and cybersecurity practices are becoming increasingly important in view of new legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) as well as the increasing sophistication of hackers and bad actors. Between 2000 and 2017, cybercrime and breaches of privacy impacted more than 4 million individuals. Cybercrime […]

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How to Prevent Theft of Your Corporate Intellectual Property in the Era of Data Privacy and Cybersecurity

Intellectual property (IP) theft of corporate intellectual property can have significant ramifications for businesses and other entities. Corporate IP includes a variety of assets, such as patented technologies, trade secrets, copyrighted information and marketing materials, marketing and pricing plans, customer and partner data, and business reputation. IP assets play a valuable role in a business’s […]

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Burger King Ribs McDonald’s After Loss of ‘Big Mac’ Trademark in the E.U.

In mid-January of 2019, McDonald’s lost its rights to the trademark ‘Big Mac’ in a European case which ruled in favor of an Irish fast food chain, Supermac’s. Supermac’s, founded in 1978 by Gaelic football player Pat McDonagh, offers a burger called the ‘Mighty Mac’. McDonald’s asserted that the ‘Mighty Mac’, along with other Supermac’s […]

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Ground Control to Robot Tom: Will U.S. Aerospace Corporations Move Into Unmanned Aerial Systems Innovation?

Earlier this month the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing regarding the emergence of new aerospace technologies—particularly Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) — and how they can be incorporated into existing airspace systems. As unmanned aerospace innovation grows, regulatory agencies correspondingly must consider how to […]

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CRISPR Technologies: Overcoming Patentability Challenges in an Increasingly Difficult Patent Landscape

The term “CRISPR,” which is an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, generally refers to RNA-guided genome editing technology used to engineer the genetic material of organisms with high accuracy and precision. It has wide applications in a variety of fields including genetics, biology, agriculture, medicine, and digital data storage, to name a […]

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Patent Eligibility of Bioinformatics Innovations

Bioinformatics has increasingly become of interest in the last decade. Bioinformatics generally refers to the use of computational methods used to compile, analyze, visualize effects, and predict trends or outcomes for oftentimes large data sets. Bioinformatics tools can be applied to gene regulation, immunology, drug repositioning, drug identification, and virtually any other application where a […]

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The Future of GMOs in the UK Post-Brexit

Following the United Kingdom triggering its formal exit from the European Union, negotiations regarding the details of the exit and the following transition period have begun. As one could expect, this negotiation process has brought to light underlying tensions between the UK and the EU. These tensions recently reached a peak when earlier this month […]

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