Intellectual Property Law Reinforces Itself With New Trade Secrets Protection Law

The President and Congress have helped add another protective wall to the realm of Intellectual Property Law this week. The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 is a new federal law created to protect American companies and their trade secrets from corporate espionage and theft. Although trade secrets are protected by most individual state laws, they are not protected by federal law. According to the National Law Review, for the first time, the DTSA will create a federal civil cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets. The law will hold a provision protecting individuals who disclose trade secret information to their attorneys.

Trade secrets are different in nature from its own Intellectual Property counterparts. Unlike patents, trademarks, and copyrights, trade secrets are registered in public databases. Trade secrets are unknown to the general public. Take for example Coca Cola’s secret formula, or Google’s security algorithms. Although they are known to exist, few know what they actually are and how they are made.

Trade secret protections guard the innovations and creativity of American firms in the United States, allowing for a fair and competitive market that the American economic system attempts to foster. They guarantee a competitive advantage over competitors and ensure a system where innovation is valued. With the rise of the global, digital economy, and the advent of the internet, trade secret threats are at an all time high.

According to Michelle K. Lee, former Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, trade secret thefts cost U.S. innovators more than an estimated $300 billion in revenue annually. Cyber Espionage has misappropriated trade secrets across state and international borders, potentially undermining national security and weakening the U.S. economy. With the Defend Trade Secrets Act, businesses are now better protected with the support of the federal government.

The National Law Review recommends that all companies consider reviewing and revising their policies and contracts governing trade secrets applicable to employees, contractors, vendors, and service providers. This will ensure that all involved parties comply with DTSA standards.

Thanks to a joint effort by Congress and the President, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 is now law. This is surely a win for American innovation and trade protection in the United States.

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What Jobs can Entry-Level Lawyers Find in the Tech Industry?

The demand for lawyers is always present.

However the job market has been rough for entry-level lawyers in recent years.

The market for lawyers seems saturated in a lot of industries; that is, with the exception of tech. The tech industry is booming, and continues to showcase itself as an ever-growing industry on a global level.

With the inception of new technologies comes an array of legal issues and new regulations. In these burgeoning new tech industries, little precedent or common law exists for lawyers to pull from. Tech lawyers are therefore needed to navigate through the unchartered waters of these new fields.

If you’re considering getting your JD, consider a focus in tech law. So what kind of jobs in which tech fields are available? Check out some of these fields if you’re looking to jump into the legal tech world…

The tech world continues to compound on itself at an incredibly rapid pace. Sanjena Sathian of Ozy comments on the phenomenon, mentioning how the law simply can’t keep up with the inception of many of these new technologies. Because of this, lawyers and future attorneys dedicating themselves to the tech industry will surely be sought after by tech firms.

“Those who have a few areas down pat will be in high demand,” cited Sathian of Ozy.

For example, cases revolving around privacy issues within the realm of the internet will most certainly be significant.

Other fields such as employment law for contract-work platforms like Uber, TaskRabbit, and Instacart among others will bring about an array of legal issues as well. According to Eric Sherman of Fortune, “gig jobs” like these often seem too good to be true for a lot of contractors, especially when many of them are receiving neither workplace protections, nor minimum wage.

Youtube and various other streaming services must face a collection of copyright hurdles that music companies like Spotify are still struggling to deal with. “International Law” is already broad and complex, but becomes even more so online. Companies that distribute products and services across national lines in just the click of a mouse become global enterprises in seconds. U.S. courts have ruled with older international law standards, ruling that U.S. companies cannot possibly be held responsible for every different law in every different country, evident in the turn of the century case LICRA v. Yahoo.

In some cases, attorneys operating in the infant phases of a startup’s life could potentially receive major compensations for their early endeavors. In fact, an attorney may very well shape the way in which the new company is structured, and how bold its business model can be. For a successful startup, an in-house expert holds a great deal of weight within the company’s administration. However, startups can often be risky enterprises, so consider your options carefully before running into startup life and culture.

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Legal Industry Sees New Opportunities Arise with Emerging FinTech Industry

Legal experts are optimistic about the new career pathways that FinTech, or the financial technology industry, is paving for junior lawyers.

From mobile banking, to virtual reality technology, to even digitized currencies like bitcoin, the field is offloading an array of complex questions onto the legal industry.

In a conference held in London, some topFinTech and legal experts shared insights on the bright future of junior lawyers in the increasingly popular field.

According to LegalCheek.com, the broad conclusion of the conference is that new legal opportunities will arrive from developments in theFinTech industry for the next generation of corporate lawyers.

The regulatory structure of the financial world is growing as new technologies begin to take a more prominent role in the daily activities of businesses across the country. As new legal framework forms alongside the rise of new technologies,FinTech companies gain the necessary confidence to continue innovating.

Instead of hindering business, the legal world organizes it, guiding it through avenues that will provide structure and confidence for developing industries. For example, developing technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are fairly unexplored via legal outlets. Part of the reason is due to the infancy of such technologies. However, once these technologies reach commercial platforms and mainstream popularity, regulations will need to be in place. This legal framework can range from protecting intellectual property, regulating business practices, and even managing copyrights.

With the advent of drones, an array of new complex legal issues continues to rise. As individuals, firms, and governments test their boundaries with drones, limits will be put into place – limits on whether drones are allowed to fly over urban downtown areas, near airports, and even by public forums have already been causing controversy.

Inconsistencies between federal and local laws will surely bring about an array of legal battles between individuals and governments. Surely, more lawyers who understand FinTech will be needed to meet the future high demands of this unchartered territory.

At the moment, there is a general shortage of lawyers who understand both corporate finance and technology laws. The field is currently booming, and will inevitably explode in the coming years once many of these technologies are introduced into the mainstream. Victoria Birch of Norton Rose Fullbright stressed the importance of a formal education in the subject when she asserted that junior lawyers must be prepared to “speak the same language” as clients, and must therefore understand the field better than anyone else. Some experts are even calling for a cross-mixing of law and computer science in the academic levels. Either way, the demands for smart, tech savvy lawyers will only rise as we reach a new age of technological innovation.

If you liked this post, and would like to read more on law or financial news, check out my Twitter @dpeinsipp. Thanks for reading!

Google & Microsoft Patent Reconciliation

Definition: A patent – a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention.
Or
Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

Google-Microsoft

Recently, patents have been the center of discussion in the tech and business sectors as companies have used patents to secure monopoly rights to various inventions. The United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) upholds the Patent Act (35 U.S. Code) to determine which patents are approved and issued to whom.

If you aren’t familiar, even big name companies like Microsoft and Google are consistently involved in patent infringement wars. A few days ago, Microsoft and Google announced they would drop their patent disputes. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an order settling royalty rates for Motorola’s video-coding and WLAN patents. Moreover, a jury trial effectively settled a patent dispute between Microsoft and Motorola in favor of the former, awarding the company $14.5 million in damages. Although Google sold the Motorola brand to Lenovo last year, Google inherited many pre-existing patent disputes when it bought the company in 2012.

Shortly after the Motorola settlement, Microsoft and Google agreed to dismiss all pending infringement complaints between the two. They have instead agreed to collaborate on numerous patent matters and intend to continue a working relationship for the benefit of their customers. Over the past few years, disagreements regarding the use of standard patents to disrupt competition has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission. Standard-essential patents are those which define standards and are understood to be licensed under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The Motorola company was accused of breaching its FRAND agreement. In 2013, Google also agreed to grant competitive access on FRAND terms.

A New Take on the Alphabet

alphabet-structure By this point, you’ve probably read about Google’s dramatic announcement that it would be merging with a new parent company called Alphabet, Inc. And yet many are still confused as to what this actually means. Some ask, “why would Google change its name,” or “what made Google change its structure so abruptly?” In a disorganized age of information overload, it can be difficult to find the answers you’re looking for. Here are a few basic answers to common questions about Alphabet, Inc.

Alphabet, Inc. is a holding (parent) company. Within this parent company will sit Google and Google’s subsidiaries, such as maps, ads, and YouTube. Alphabet, Inc. will not directly make or sell any products; so, it really does function like one large umbrella under which Google’s subsidiaries are housed. Larry Page, one of Google, Inc.’s co-founders will serve as the Alphabet, Inc. CEO and Sergey Brin, Google, Inc.’s other co-founder, will serve as president. Sundar Pichai will become the CEO of Google, Inc.

So of course, many are asking why Google would make such a drastic change. The main reason lies in Google’s acquisition of multiple smaller companies like Deja, Outride, Kaltix, ZipDash, and the list goes one. Moreover, the merger allows Google better ways allocate resources to some of their larger projects under search, Android, and Google Auto. Think with Google is an entire digital innovation lab.

Fortunately, if you currently own Google, Inc. shares, you can continue to trade stock under the GOOG and GOOGL ticker symbols on the NASDAQ. After the merge is complete and finalized sometime next year, your current stocks will be rebranded as Alphabet stock, retaining value and price history. Although a bit complex, the Alphabet umbrella company will contain Calico, Google x, Fiber, Google Ventures, Google Capital, Nest, and simply Google.

As Google continues to expand, we can only expect more structural and branding changes along the way. While it may be difficult to understand at times, at least there’s always something interesting to look out for.