Everything You Wanted to Know about Trade Secrets but Were Afraid to Ask – A02

Business Law Track
Intellectual Property Section

Session A: 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

About the Program
Trade secret law is an important but often unrecognized component of intellectual property. Likewise, trade secrets are an exceedingly important but often overlooked part of a company’s intellectual property portfolio. A recent US International Trade Commission survey found that 56 percent of over 7,000 internationally engaged businesses considered trade secrets “very important” to their businesses, as opposed to 48 percent for trademarks and, 37 percent and 31 percent for patents and copyrights, respectively. PwC and Create.org recently released a report that estimated that trade secret theft amounted to a one to three percent loss in national GDP. While trade secret law has existed for decades as a matter of state law, Congress enacted the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), which has the potential to revolutionize the law and practice of trade secret litigation by, among other things, providing for a federal cause of action for the theft or misappropriation of a trade secret.

You Will Learn

  • The nuts and bolts of the law and practice of trade secret law, including Connecticut law and the Uniform Trade Secrets Act
  • How trade secret law impacts other practice areas, including employment, civil procedure, bankruptcy, and commercial law
  • About the new federal law of trade secrets created by the DTSA, including whistleblower protection, the new federal cause of action, and the provisions for ex parte seizure of goods that violate trade secrets of American companies


Daniel R. Cooper, Cooper & Kurz, Stamford

Attorney Cooper’s practice focuses on international trademark and unfair competition, copyright, and corporate matters, both transactional and litigation. In addition, Daniel has practiced in and advised clients on environmental law, Federal Indian law and indigenous affairs matters.

Prior to his current post at Cooper & Kurz, between September 2011 and January 2013 Daniel was a Trademark Executive with Patrick Mirandah Co. Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based intellectual property firm, where he practiced trademark, design, and copyright law, and advised clients from the US and Europe on contentious, transactional and licensing matters across Southeast Asia, specifically in the areas of trademark, industrial design, patent and unfair competition. In addition to practicing, Daniel has written and presented on a broad range of issues relating to intellectual property and Indian law.

Daniel is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA), and dedicates much of his time to these organizations. Daniel has been the Legislative Liaison for the CBA’s Intellectual Property Section since September 2015 and the Education Liaison for the Sports & Entertainment Law Section since 2016. Daniel is a CBA Presidential Fellow for the 2017-2019 biennial term.

Melissa A. Tharp, Bridgeport

Melissa Tharp is a registered patent attorney. Ms. Tharp is a former Patent Fellow and consulting attorney with the Global Patent Operation of General Electric, providing research, IP filing strategy and prosecution support for multiple GE business units. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience from Central Michigan University, and earned her J.D. from Quinnipiac School of Law.




Alan Harrison, Otterstedt Ellenbogen & Kammer LLP, Stamford

A former naval submarine officer, Alan Harrison addresses the complexities of intellectual property law from an engineering perspective, always seeking an optimal business solution.  In his current position he obtains patent protection for the inventions of Fortune 500 clients.  Previously, he handled patent, trademark, and copyright matters for a diverse array of clients including individuals and corporations.



John M. Tanski, Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider LLP, Hartford

John Tanski represents clients in sophisticated business disputes, focusing his practice on claims of trade secret theft, unfair trade practices, anticompetitive conduct, breach of contract, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Clients praise his “intellectual firepower” and describe him as “a valuable counselor to the business clients as they weigh the pros and cons of the possible paths to follow.”

John’s extensive litigation experience includes winning favorable results for clients in a variety of industries ranging from manufacturing and insurance to pharmaceuticals and software. He also has significant appellate experience in both federal and state courts across the country. Before entering private practice, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul J. Kelly, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

John is active in his community, serving as the Vice Chairman of the Glastonbury Water Pollution Control Authority and as a member of the Connecticut State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He is a former member of the Commission on Connecticut’s Leadership in Corporation and Business Law and the Tenth Circuit’s Criminal Justice Act panel. His pro bono work includes representing inmates in civil rights lawsuits in federal district court and serving as a mediator in discrimination matters for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

James R. Nault, Robinson+Cole, Hartford

Attorney Nault focuses his practice on complex litigation, including patent infringement, trademark infringement, commercial disputes, breach of contract, and trade secret licensing disputes. Mr. Nault is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Appellate Groups.

Mr. Nault is a registered patent attorney and a registered professional engineer. He handles a variety of intellectual property litigation, including lawsuits related to patent, trademark, trade secret and copyright infringement.Mr. Nault has represented diverse clients in intellectual property actions across the country and has achieved numerous favorable settlements on their behalf.Mr. Nault regularly monitors and reports on changing areas of intellectual property law, especially patent cases at the United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Mr. Nault has assisted in drafting briefs to the various federal courts of appeals, the Connecticut Supreme Court, and has drafted a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. He routinely makes presentations to the Connecticut legal community to share his knowledge about patent issues.

Prior to joining Robinson+Cole, Mr. Nault worked as a member of the Intellectual Property Litigation Group at a firm in New York.


2.0 CLE Credits: (CT:1.5 General, 0.5 Ethics; NY: 1.5 AOP, .05 Ethics)