Posts

Employees or Independent Contractor Generated IP (Part 1)

Intellectual property protection

This post will provide an overview of key IP issues encountered when dealing with employees and independent contractors. We will cover the default ownership rules and rights for different types of IP and some tips on how to maximize an employer’s rights vis-à-vis its employees.

Intellectual property (IP) created by employees and independent contractors or consultants, particularly in a technical or creative role, can have significant value for a company. However, if not careful, a company may also be obligated to transfer ownership or permit the use of certain IP to customers, collaborators, or other third parties. Thus, it is important to understand how to protect an employer’s interests in it.  Read more

Trade Secret Theft in China

trade-secret-theft-in-china

By David Cohen & Donal O’Connell

The headlines:

“China national charged with stealing trade secrets” – U.S. Justice Department

“Chinese battery expert is charged with stealing trade secrets from US employer, as he prepared to join mainland firm” – South China Morning Post

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The Importance of Trade Secret Metadata at a Trade Secret Misappropriation Court Case

The Importance of Trade Secret Metadata at a Trade Secret Misappropriation Court Case by David L. CohenContrary to popular belief — especially among business owners — trade secrets are not only found in top secret, highly-secure research labs. Rather, almost every business possesses trade secrets, regardless of whether the business is small, medium or large.

A trade secret is anything that is:

  • Not generally known or readily accessible to the relevant business circles or to the public;
  • Gives some sort of potential or actual economic benefit to its owner where the benefit derives from the fact that the thing is not generally known, and not just from the value of the thing itself; and
  • Is subject to “reasonable steps,” depending on the specific circumstances, to keep it secret.

Historically, trade secrets, if even considered, were treated as an afterthought. If there was some sort of non-disclosure agreement on file somewhere, companies were satisfied and turned their attention to patents, copyrights, and designs.

This attitude is changing for a number of reasons.

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