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

Production Date: October 23, 2014 Practice Areas: Intellectual Property Law Estimated Length: 3853 minutes


$ 59 Intellectual Property Law In Stock

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


Christopher R. C.
Kensington, MD

Interesting course

Drake M.
Rathdrum, ID

Great program.

Phyllis C.
new suffolk, NY

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

Wayne K.
Barrington, IL

very good speaker.

Mark S.
Seattle, WA


James B.
Huntington, NY

Great presentation.

Karen N.
New York, NY

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

Patricia L.
San Antonio, TX

What a Fantastic Lecturer! Hope he does more podcasts!

Dana P.
Rockville, MD


Shaun S.
San Diego, CA

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

James P.
Woodstock, IL

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

James B.
New York, NY

Excellent speaker.

Carl S.
Cerritos, CA

great lecture

Karim L.
North Vancouver, BC

Terrific presentation!

linda r.
Georgetown, TX

Really enjoyed his energetic presentation!

Maria B.
Brooklyn, NY

Excellent. Hope more presentations are added in the future,

Terrel T.
Idaho Falls, ID

Thank you

Paula P.
New York, NY

Excellent engaging speaker!

Edward B.
Hanover, NH

excellent presenter - took course because of presenter

Kathryn W.
New York, NY

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

Vincent P.
Los Angeles, CA

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.
Presque Isle, ME

informative and well done.

Laura A.
Oreland, PA


ken p.
Franklin, TN

Very good

Kevin G.
Williamsburg, VA

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

Teresa H.
Glen Allen, VA

Very good presentation

Mark M.
North East, MD

Right on point and clear!

Brook E.
Arlington, VA


Lisa K.
Hollywood, FL

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

Michael V.
Clifton forge, VA

very informative and engaging presentation.

William B.
Alexandria, VA


Tara C.
Frisco, TX

Great and interesting presentation

Robert A. S.
Arlington Heights, LB

Good summary of a complex area of IP law.

Ornah L.
Long Beach, CA

Great lecture!! :)

Jonathan K.
Camas, WA

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

Kathy T.
Coto de Caza, CA

Great engaging speaker.

Ruth G.
Chicago, IL

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.
Huntsville, AL

Great class. Interesting combination.

Meagan R.

Fantastic! Very interesting.

Herbert F.
New Rochelle,, NY

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

Susan S.

He should teach all the courses. Really good.

Michael M.
Warrenton, VA

Great seminar.

Kevin S.
Yorktown Heights, NY

very interesting and educational at the same time

David O.
Nashville, TN

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

Charles B.
Greenville, NC

Excellent speaker!

Robert D.
Alexandria, VA

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

Christine K.
Cambridge, NY

Very interesting and lively lecture with a dynamic instructor!

Steven F.
Garden City, NY

Very enthusiastic speaker with broad knowledge of his material.

Scott J.
Los Angeles, CA

Good passion of the subject.

Barbara P.
Roswell, NM

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

Paul E.
Annandale, VA

Excellent and animated speaker.

Paul S.
Wharton, TX

Mr. Ullman is an excellent presenter!

Donna H.
Menlo Park, CA

Good over view...

Colin Michael B.
Albuquerque, NM

Really Good

Jeffrey S.
cold spring harbor, NY


Alexandria K.
Jenkintown, PA

More please!

Stacey S.
White Plains, NY

Wonderful, animated speaker!

Laura H.
Pittsburgh, PA

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

Charilyn C.
McLean, VA

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.
Henrico, VA

Great topic, presented in an engaging and thoughtful manner!

Richard G.
Vienna, VA

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

June C.
Batesville, VA

The presenter did a very nice job!

Caroline A.
Charlottesville, VA

Great material

Richard M.
Cumming, GA

Outstanding program! Thanks very much.

Joy A.
Cliffwood, NJ

Great presentation

Tonye E.
Chesapeake, VA

Great speaker. Made the topic very entertaining and understandable.

Ann P.
Seattle, WA

Speaker kept my interest.

Thomas B.
Norfolk, VA

Much more complicated issues to prove than I realized

Douglas W.
Omak, WA

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

Yvenne K.
Ashburn, VA

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

Bobak T.
McLean, VA

The speaker was really great

Carrol C.
Boones Mill, VA

Speaker was very enthusiastic about his subject.

Lynn K.
Rockville, VA

Ullman is fantastic

John R.
Charlottesville, VA

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

Alane M.
Lynchburg, VA

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

Robert W.
Lakeville, IN

Very good presenter

Bradley E.
Richmond, VA

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

Susan K.
Midlothian, VA

loved the speaker's gregarious nature

connie m.
Phoenix, AZ

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

James W.
West Chester, PA

Great speaker!

Karen G.
Ashburn, VA

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

Kenton E.
Fairfax Station, VA

Excellent presenter!

Jo M.
Abingdon, VA

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

Kate M.
Fairfax, VA

excellent program

Gaynor V.
Callao, VA


Stuart K.
Farifield, CT

Great speaker!

David L.
Herndon, VA

Great speaker

Jay S.
Germantown, VA

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

Farrest T.
Slocomb, AL

I thought it was very well presented