Jail Time Delayed for Trade Secret Theft.

A former executive headhunter has received a delay in serving a prison sentence while he appeals his conviction for theft of trade secrets, hacking, and conspiring to use proprietary information. However, the $60,000 fine had to be paid immediately.

David Nosal, a former recruiter for Korn/Ferry, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for violating the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Economic Espionage Act.

Nosal was convicted by a federal jury of conspiring to gain unauthorized access to Korn/Ferry’s computer system to obtain the firm’s trade secrets. Prosecutors said that he intended to use these materials to set up a new business.

Nosal was convicted after he convinced three of his former staff members to access Korn/Ferry’s database to obtain lists of executive candidates he wanted for his new company.

How Can I Help?

If you have questions about how to protect your business from trade secret theft, or if you know or suspect that an employee or former employee has stolen your proprietary information,, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@kb-ip.com or call (213) 785-8070 and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Choosing Between Patent and Trade Secret Protection To Protect Your Intellectual Property.

In some cases, trade secret protection of an invention is a viable alternative to patent protection. A trade secret is information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that derives independent economic value from not being generally known to or readily ascertainable to others who might obtain economic value from its disclosure or use.

In order to maintain its value, a trade secret owner must take precautions to prevent disclosure of the secret information. Conversely, patent protection requires the inventor to provide detailed information about the invention in order to be granted the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention for a specific period of time.

The two types of intellectual property also have a number of other key differences:

  • Process for protection: Unlike patents, trade secrets cannot be federally protected through applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Rather, the owner of the trade secret holds the responsibility for keeping it safe. If the holder fails to maintain secrecy or if the information is independently discovered or otherwise becomes pubic knowledge, protection as a trade secret is lost.
  • Range of protection: U.S. patent law limits the scope of patent protection to include any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. A trade secret can include any of the various types of information referenced above such as customer lists.
  • Timeframe for protection: Trade secret protection can begin at any stage of the inventing process, while patent protection must comply with deadlines established under federal patent law.
  • Limitations of protection: Patents granted by the USPTO are limited to the United States, unless the inventor takes further steps to gain international protection. So long as the information remains confidential, trade secret protection can extend globally.
  • Term of protection: While patents have a specific term of years, trade secret protection does not expire. However, trade secrets can be discovered through independent discovery and reverse engineering.

How Can I Help?

Given the significant differences, choosing the most beneficial type of protection involves careful consideration of both the business and legal implications. For assistance, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

The Difference Between Patent And Trade Secret Protection.

In some cases, trade secret protection of an invention is a viable alternative to patent protection. A trade secret is information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that derives independent economic value from not being generally known to or readily ascertainable to others who might obtain economic value from its disclosure or use.

In order to maintain its value, a trade secret owner must take precautions to prevent disclosure of the secret information. Conversely, patent protection requires the inventor to provide detailed information about the invention in order to be granted the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention for a specific period of time.

The two types of intellectual property also have a number of other key differences:

  • Process for protection: Unlike patents, trade secrets cannot be federally protected through applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Rather, the owner of the trade secret holds the responsibility for keeping it safe. If the holder fails to maintain secrecy or if the information is independently discovered or otherwise becomes pubic knowledge, protection as a trade secret is lost.
  • Range of protection: U.S. patent law limits the scope of patent protection to include any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. A trade secret can include any of the various types of information referenced above such as customer lists.
  • Timeframe for protection: Trade secret protection can begin at any stage of the inventing process, while patent protection must comply with deadlines established under federal patent law.
  • Limitations of protection: Patents granted by the USPTO are limited to the United States, unless the inventor takes further steps to gain international protection. So long as the information remains confidential, trade secret protection can extend globally.
  • Term of protection: While patents have a specific term of years, trade secret protection does not expire. However, trade secrets can be discovered through independent discovery and reverse engineering.

How Can I Help?

Given the significant differences, choosing the most beneficial type of protection involves careful consideration of both the business and legal implications, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

#1 Again!

I am proud to announce that for the fourth year in a row, my firm, Sheldon Mak & Anderson, has received a national Tier 1 ranking in the 2014 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.” The firm was recognized for outstanding work in Trademark Law.  The rankings, presented in tiers, showcase more than 10,000 law firms ranked nationally or by metropolitan region.

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Sheldon Mak & Anderson is honored to receive the following national rankings:

NATIONAL TIER 1

Trademark Law

NATIONAL TIER 2

Litigation – Intellectual Property

Patent Law

NATIONAL TIER 3

Litigation – Patent

In addition to national recognition, Sheldon Mak & Anderson also garnered four metropolitan Tier 1 rankings for Los Angeles in the following practice areas:

METROPOLITAN TIER 1

Litigation – Intellectual Property

Litigation – Patent

Patent Law

Trademark Law

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Sheldon Mak & Anderson is proud to share this honor with all of its attorneys. Achieving a high ranking is a special distinction that signals a unique combination of excellence and breadth of legal expertise.

The “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Because firms are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, the U.S. News – Best Lawyers ranking is one of the most respected in the legal community.

The national first-tier rankings will be featured in a special Legal edition of U.S. News & World Report, out on newsstands later this month. The national and metropolitan first-tier rankings are featured in the “Best Law Firms” standalone publication. The rankings in their entirety are posted online at http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Are Old Trade Secrets Now Patentable?

The America Invents Act’s first-inventor-to-file system has created a lot of questions in the patent community. One of the most intriguing is how the new prior art rules impact the protection of long-standing trade secrets.

As amended, 35 U.S.C. 102 (a)(1) now states: “A person shall be entitled to a patent unless—(1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention…”

Questions have centered on the interpretation of the phrase “or otherwise available to the public” and whether it limits the application of secret prior art. Under existing precedent, offers-for-sale and sales in the U.S. did not need to be public in order to invalidate a patent claim.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s interpretation of the new language, “Residual clauses such as ‘or otherwise’ or ‘or other’’ are generally viewed as modifying the preceding phrase or phrases. Therefore, the Office views the ‘or otherwise available to the public’ residual clause of the AIA’s 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) as indicating that secret sale or use activity does not qualify as prior art.”

The IP community appears to agree with the USPTO’s interpretation. The American Bar Association’s IP Law Section considered the issue and concluded:

The passage “otherwise available to the public” reflects the touchstone of what constitutes prior art under the AIA under section 102(a)(1). This section requires availability to the public or public accessibility is an overarching requirement. Such accessibility is critical to provide a simpler, more predictable and fully transparent patent system. As such, for a “public use,” for a determination that an invention is “on sale,” as well as to assess whether an offer for sale has been made, the statutory requirements under the AIA require a public disclosure. Thus, non-public offers for sale (and non-public uses) would not qualify as prior art under the AIA.

The American Intellectual Property Law Association and the Intellectual Property Owners Association adopted similar position in comments submitted to the USPTO. While these interpretations seems to suggest that old trade secrets would no longer be considered prior art when filing a patent application, this issue will likely need to be resolved by the courts or clarified by Congress in a technical amendment.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Adobe Hacked, 2.9 Million Customers Information Lost.

In what is to date one of the largest security breaches recorded.  Adobe Systems servers were recently taken over by hackers and data on 2.9 million customers was compromised.

Adobe had recently turned into an all cloud based service with no more physical copies of their flagship programs to be available.  This provided the opportunity for Adobe to has monthly subscription income and roll out updates as they happen instead of waiting for the next release cycle.

It also provided ample incentive to the black hats.  The data accessed includes ‘customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other information relating to customer orders,’ according to a company blog post.

But the loss of credit card information may be the least of Adobe’s worries.  It has also been reported that actual files may have been taken as well.

If so, this could be the largest trade secret breach ever recorded.  Just think of all those proprietary designs, models and schematics that where stored on those servers.  All gone.

If there are any patentable ideas that were taken and someone files before the owner, there will be repercussions for Adobe.

The moral of the story is be careful who you trust with your information.  It is valuable.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman