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Course Details

Trade Secrets (Cundiff)

Spring 2024   LAW 983-001  

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Faculty
Victoria Cundiff

Lecturer in Law

vcundiff@mac.com
Additional Information

Skills Training
Oral Presentations
Team Projects
Drafting Legal Documents
Expository Writing
Other Professional Skills:

Grading
20% Participation,
30% Paper,
50% Other (Grades will be based on Class exercises (written and oral): (50)%, with improvement over the course of the semester being taken into account. Class contribution (20%), based on quality and preparedness rather than quantity. I am happy to discuss ways of participation that are most comfortable to you. Class paper and presentation (30%).)

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement

With Permission of Instructor
I will be able to supervise a limited number of senior papers. Please contact me in advance of or early in the semester to discuss your interests.

Location

Class meets in person.

Course Continuity
Students are encouraged to stay home if you are ill or experience flu-like symptoms. If you miss a class for any reason, it is still your responsibility to make up the work missed.

I offer the following to students who miss class due to illness:

- Class sessions are regularly recorded. I will make these recordings routinely available on the course site to everyone in the class.

- I will make PowerPoint slides or other class materials routinely available on the course site to everyone in the class.

Meeting Times/Location
W 4:30PM - 6:30PM
Tanenbaum Hall 145

Category
Seminar

Credits
3.0

Virtually every lawyer will encounter trade secrets issues in practice, whether they focus on litigation, transactional work, employment law, white collar crime, government service or academic research. Trade secrets have been important drivers of economies for hundreds of years. More recently, trade secrets law has been enlisted to protect such varied types of useful information as manufacturing processes for semiconductors, batteries and even English muffins; new technologies for robotics, electric batteries, driverless cars and air taxis; and improvements to mature technologies. Recent developments in patent law have led some organizations to expand their reliance on trade secrets law to protect information for which they might previously have sought patents. The importance of trade secrets to world economies have made trade secrets a prominent topic in legislation and treaty negotiations, now and historically.

This course studies the theory and practice of trade secrets law. We will consider why do we have trade secrets law and what does it protect? what information may or cannot qualify as a trade secret? how does trade secrets law relate to standards of "commercial morality"? what is the lawyer’s role in the discussion and how can a lawyer be at risk in trade secret disputes? We will assess how trade secrets law answers questions key to other intellectual property regimes and how it addresses unique concerns and policies. We will examine how advocates and courts frame decision rules and remedies for misappropriation that properly balance the asserted interests of rights holders in protecting their investment and innovations against the rights of the public (and former trusted insiders, including employees) to access and use the fruits of innovation.

We will be looking at these issues based on posted readings on CANVAS. As we consider and debate doctrine and cases, we will consider the underlying relationships, contracts, pleadings, proposed orders and similar documents at issue in the cases as well. The real “secret” of the course is that while we will be focusing on the substantive area of trade secrets, we will be working hard on the broader issue of how lawyers can become trusted advisers.

The class will be interactive, so class attendance is mandatory. Students will prepare and present a number of short oral exercises, individually and as part of teams, and short (2-4 pp.) written documents over the course of the semester, including reaction papers and short documents of the type lawyers prepare in practice such as initial demand letters; outlines of what facts will be critical to learn and how; due diligence checklists; and proposed requests for relief. Through group exercises students will at times work together to develop an integrated approach to resolving particular issues. Each student will also prepare and present a longer individual paper (8-12 double spaced pp.) focused on a topic of particular interest to that student. We will be aided in our consideration by occasional guests who have had important roles in shaping trade secrets law and doctrine.

Prior exposure to intellectual property law issues is helpful but not required. No technical scientific background is necessary. Students having questions about the course are encouraged to contact the instructor directly before registering. After discussion the instructor will be able to supervise a limited number of papers satisfying the senior writing requirement.

There will be no final exam; the grade will be based on the oral and written submissions.

Course Concentrations

Business and Corporate Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of business and corporate law; Perform legal analysis in the context of business and corporate law; Communicate effectively on topics related to business and corporate law; Demonstrate an understanding of the interconnection between the world of business and finance and that of business and corporate law, and how they affect other areas of law and society.

Skills Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of the individual course skill; Demonstrate the ability to receive and implement feedback; Demonstrate an understanding of how and when the individual course skill is employed in practice.

International and Comparative Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of international and comparative law, both substantively and procedurally; Perform legal analysis in the context of international and comparative law; Communicate effectively on topics related to international and comparative law; Demonstrate an understanding of the role of international and comparative law, and their interconnection with domestic law.

Courts and the Judicial System Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of both substantive and procedural issues in the operation of our legal system; Perform legal analysis in the context of procedural issues and the judicial process; Communicate effectively on topics related to procedure and the judicial process; Demonstrate an understanding of how procedural issues and the judicial process affect all other area of our legal system.

Criminal Law and Procedure Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of criminal law and procedure; Perform legal analysis in the context of criminal law and procedure; Communicate effectively on topics related to criminal law and procedure; Demonstrate an understanding of the role criminal law and procedure play in society and their impact on other areas of law and society.

International Corporate and Trade Law

Intellectual Property and Technology Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of intellectual property law; Perform legal analysis in the context of intellectual property law; Communicate effectively on topics related to intellectual property; Demonstrate an understanding of the interconnection between technology and intellectual property, and how they affect other areas of law and society.

Employment Law and Employee Benefits Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of employment law and employee benefits; Perform legal analysis in the context of employment law and employee benefits; Communicate effectively on topics related to employment law and employee benefits; Demonstrate an understanding of how employment law and employee benefits affect other areas of law.

Perspectives on the Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.

Professional Responsibility and Ethics Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.