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On Demand Audio

Protecting a Proprietary Interest in Concepts and Ideas: Brave New World or Just "Trade Secrets Lite?"

(1k+ reviews)

Produced on October 23, 2014

Taught by
$ 59 Intellectual Property In Stock

Course Information

Time 1h 4m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Intellectual Property

Course Description

We may analogize the law of intellectual property to the departments in a general store. There, well-lit, in the front aisles, is everything we might want to know about trademarks, copyrights and patents. Shelves upon shelves of information describe the processes of creating and owning an interest in these species of intellectual property, outline the elements of an infringement claim, lay out the methodologies of proof of a claim, and generally provide the practitioner with reasonable clarity and certainty in pursuing the prosecution or defense of cases arising under these legal regimes. 


Somewhat further to the rear, but still fairly well lit, is the section addressing trade secrecy, including clearly-marked areas defining the elements of a claim, methods of proof and rules of procedure, available both at common law and under the various incarnations of the model statutes which have more and more become the norm for the state law protection of trade secrecy. Way in the back – in a dim, gloomy, unswept and generally poorly-maintained alcove – we find something called “confidential and proprietary information.” Very little is available there to inform and enlighten the practitioner shopping for guidance. 


What, exactly, is this species of intellectual property? Most of the slim pickings available tell us what it is not, but almost nowhere will we find any substantive definition of what it is. We can find sources which tell us that it is somehow separate and distinct from a trade secret, and the proper subject of legal protection, but exactly what the difference is, no one seems to be able to say. We even find sources which seem to suggest that “confidential and proprietary” information is not really a category of intellectual property at all, but something else entirely, although following the trail of exactly what that might be leads us ultimately to a dead end of confusion and uncertainty.


Join attorney Jeffrey Ullman as he sheds light on an area where there is largely darkness and unintelligibility. Specifically, Mr. Ullman addresses questions such as: 

  • What is “confidential and proprietary” information? 
  • To what extent does the rubric properly extend to concepts and ideas, rather than facts or processes? 
  • What are the elements of a claim alleging infringement? 
  • In the setting in which misappropriation claims most frequently arise – the post-employment context – what are the rights and obligations of former employees to the use and exploitation of what they have learned from their former employer? 

These questions and more guide the discussion of a growing and widening area of concern for practitioners.


Learning Objectives:

I.    Coherently analyze the legal viability of claims alleging the misappropriation of “confidential and proprietary” information, with emphasis on the application of the analysis to cases involving allegedly misappropriated ideas or concepts

II.   Separate bona fide claims from wasteful boondoggles

III.  Develop a methodology for protecting the interests of clients, whether as plaintiff or defendant



Jeffrey D. Ullman

Ullman, Furhman & Platt, P.C.

JEFFREY D. ULLMAN has more than thirty-eight years of concentrated experience handling all facets of complex litigation in the state and federal courts. He has earned a very strong reputation for integrity and legal ability among his colleagues and adversaries alike. He is and has been “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbel for more than twenty-five years, and is identified by that organization as “Preeminent,” the highest possible third party peer reviewed recognition of legal acumen and ethical standards available in the legal profession. He has appeared as trial and appellate counsel for a diverse clientele in a wide variety of cases covering the broad spectrum of civil and criminal litigation. His principal areas of expertise include commercial litigation, intellectual property disputes, criminal defense and appeals. He has tried numerous civil and criminal cases to conclusion at the trial level, both before the law courts and before administrative agencies, and he has abundant experience arguing appeals before the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Courts of Appeal for the Second, Third and Fourth Circuits, among others.


Having gained substantial trial and appellate experience principally at small New York firms specializing in criminal defense and complex commercial litigations, Jeff founded the law firm which bears his name, ULLMAN, FURHMAN & PLATT, P.C., together with Arthur Furhman and Gary Platt in 1992. The firm, which represents clients in connection with a broad range of legal matters, celebrated its 20th year of practice and service to its clients at its original Morristown, New Jersey office location, in January, 2012.



Mr. Ullman graduated cum laude from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1970, with a degree in Philosophy, and, following a year of graduate study in that field at the University of Rochester, obtained his law degree from the New York University School of Law in 1974. Mr. Ullman served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University for the 1992-1993 academic year, teaching courses in Social Justice and Philosophical Issues in Punishment and Human Rights.



Jeffrey Ullman is a member of the bars of the States of New York and New Jersey, and is admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the District of New Jersey, the United States Courts of Appeal for the Second, Third and Fourth Circuits and the United States Supreme Court. He also has been specially admitted to practice on behalf of clients in trials and appeals in state and federal courts in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida and Texas.


Practice Areas

Commercial Litigation; Criminal Defense; Intellectual Property Litigation; Appeals


You May Also Want to Know...

Jeff is an avid sailor, proud owner of the 33 foot cruising yacht, Apparent Wind. He is a commercially licensed sailboat captain, holding a U.S. Coast Guard 25-Ton Master Credential, with Auxiliary Sail Endorsement. Making his home in Somerset, New Jersey, he has been married for over forty years, and is the father and grandfather of three.


Wendy C.

Excellent speaker! Really got to the heart of the subject matter

Geoffrey D.

Very effective and clear speaker

Mark V.

Exceptional speaker!

Michael B.

Thank you.

William C.

This was one of if not the best continuing legal education courses I've ever taken! The presenter was extremely knowledgeable, had a great and engaging presentation style with humor, passion and insight. This is a novel topic and happens to apply very specifically to a case I am now handling. I especially appreciated the fact that at the end he said if any of us are handling a case that relates to this topic, he would appreciate hearing from us. That adds so much value to take a course and be able to follow up with the speaker on specific questions even though I was not personally present when the presentation was given. Kudos to lawline and Jeffrey D. Ullman for offering such an outstanding course.

Donald B.


Jonathan C. D.

very authoritative

Christopher R. C.

Interesting course

Drake M.

Great program.

Phyllis C.

VERY engaging speaker, excellent production and editing values, sophisticated content.

Wayne K.

very good speaker.

Mark S.


James B.

Great presentation.

Karen N.

This was a very relevant course for me and well organized.

Patricia L.

What a Fantastic Lecturer! Hope he does more podcasts!

Dana P.


Shaun S.

very well explained, a new area of IP litigation I was unaware of

James P.

This was an excellent presentation of an important emerging area of the intellectual protection law.

James B.

Excellent speaker.

Carl S.

great lecture

Karim L.

Terrific presentation!

linda r.

Really enjoyed his energetic presentation!

Maria B.

Excellent. Hope more presentations are added in the future,

Terrel T.

Thank you

Paula P.

Excellent engaging speaker!

Edward B.

excellent presenter - took course because of presenter

Kathryn W.

Mr. Ullman marries superb content with incredibly effective teaching style. He's one of the best lecturers I have ever heard.

Vincent P.

Mr Ullman's presentation of this confusing area of law supports the observation that he is gifted speaker and should be coaxed by Lawline to teach as many courses for them as their budget allows. I would even take a course in the household arts if deliver

Carl F.

informative and well done.

Laura A.


ken p.

Very good

Kevin G.

One of the best programs on Lawline Great instructor and solid material.

Teresa H.

Very good presentation

Mark M.

Right on point and clear!

Brook E.


Lisa K.

Excellent presentation and speaker. One of the best I've heard.

Michael V.

very informative and engaging presentation.

William B.


Tara C.

Great and interesting presentation

Robert A. S.

Good summary of a complex area of IP law.

Ornah L.

Great lecture!! :)

Jonathan K.

this is an excellent lecture, on a thought-provoking subject

Kathy T.

Great engaging speaker.

Ruth G.

This man is the best speaker I have ever seen on law line. I took this course just because he was teaching it. I have no intention of practicing intellectual property law, but he makes it interesting. He is a passionate and persuasive speaker.

Thomas P.

Great class. Interesting combination.

Meagan R.

Fantastic! Very interesting.

Herbert F.

Excellent. Would like tol take more courses with this lecturer.

Susan S.

He should teach all the courses. Really good.

Michael M.

Great seminar.

Kevin S.

very interesting and educational at the same time

David O.

Mr. Ullman did tremendous job of explaining difficult concepts, and I would recommend this speaker and course to others.

Charles B.

Excellent speaker!

Robert D.

Mr. Ullman is an excellent lecturer. I would highly recommend this course as well as other courses that he teaches.

Christine K.

Very interesting and lively lecture with a dynamic instructor!

Steven F.

Very enthusiastic speaker with broad knowledge of his material.

Scott J.

Good passion of the subject.

Barbara P.

Website was very easy to use. I enjoyed the topic area. Great speaker. Made the subject matter very enjoyable and interesting.

Paul E.

Excellent and animated speaker.

Paul S.

Mr. Ullman is an excellent presenter!

Donna H.

Good over view...

Colin Michael B.

Really Good

Jeffrey S.


Alexandria K.

More please!

Stacey S.

Wonderful, animated speaker!

Laura H.

one of the best I have veiwed..Speaker clearly was well versed in the field and made the presentation very engaging.

Charilyn C.

The oral and written presentations tracked virtually verbatim, but it was helpful rather than annoying because Jeffrey Ullman's speaking style and substantive knowledge of the issues helped tremendously in making the material comprehensible (even though t

Jonathan P.

Great topic, presented in an engaging and thoughtful manner!

Richard G.

Great speaker, very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the subject. The slides are good, too.

June C.

The presenter did a very nice job!

Caroline A.

Great material

Richard M.

Outstanding program! Thanks very much.

Joy A.

Great presentation

Tonye E.

Great speaker. Made the topic very entertaining and understandable.

Ann P.

Speaker kept my interest.

Thomas B.

Much more complicated issues to prove than I realized

Douglas W.

Ullman brings great enthusiasm and knowledge to a very nebulous area of law. Great job

Yvenne K.

Jeff Ullman was an excellent speaker, animated, and interesting. I hope he will give more presentations in the future

Bobak T.

The speaker was really great

Carrol C.

Speaker was very enthusiastic about his subject.

Lynn K.

Ullman is fantastic

John R.

Excellent program. In-depth coverage and analysis of a difficult practice area for most practitioners.

Alane M.

I want Mr. Ullman to do all CLE's...he is very engaging with great material!

Robert W.

Very good presenter

Bradley E.

Mr. Ullman was wonderful. He displayed great enthusiasm for the material.

Susan K.

loved the speaker's gregarious nature

connie m.

Great speaker...engaging, exuberant and makes this complicated area clear. More programs from him, please!

James W.

Great speaker!

Karen G.

Wow! The speaker was great. I wished we had another 30 minutes for him.

Kenton E.

Excellent presenter!

Jo M.

Mr. Ullman is one of the best speakers - no, THE best - that I've heard on Lawline. Kudos.

Kate M.

excellent program

Gaynor V.


Stuart K.

Great speaker!

David L.

Great speaker

Jay S.

This is in the top three of all CLEs on lawline.

Farrest T.

I thought it was very well presented

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