Apr 202016

Trade Secrets | Cochell Law Firm BlogMany individuals, small businesses or companies organize themselves around a concept or ideas that they sell to the public.   The importance of maintaining and protecting trade secrets about their ideas cannot be underestimated.  Trade secrets are often the life blood of a company and the competitive advantage of a trade secret determines whether a business lives, dies, or becomes the next Google or Uber.  While everyone thinks of Apple, Coca Cola or Uber as the great concepts of our time, these companies grew primarily as a result of aggressive product development, cutting edge technology or creative business approaches that were the product of many years of hard work, innovation and people possessing creativity or even brilliance in a narrow area of their industry.    Something that all of these companies have in common are the fact that they had or continue to have trade secrets that they protect or have patented.

Trade Secrets | Cochell Law Firm BlogMany companies protect trade secrets by applying for patents before they are commercially sold in interstate commerce.   Competitors may or may not be able to replicate their products or technology without infringing the patents, or they quickly figure out how to either challenge or circumvent the patent application through lawful or even unlawful means by foreign or domestic competitors.  Trade secrets may remain secret whereas your patent application ultimately becomes part of the “public domain.”  Theft of trade secrets are punishable in Texas both civilly and criminally. Continue reading »

Oct 062015

Planned Parenthood Logo | Cochell Law Firm BlogWe have been witnessing a feeding frenzy in Congress over Planned Parenthood. Some Republican politicians have pledged to defund Planned Parenthood as other Republicans introduce bills in Congress to accomplish this goal. On the flip side, we have heard people on the far left defend Planned Parenthood with the same blind frenzy even though the videotapes distributed by a group called the Center for American Progress portray some horrific statements by Planned Parenthood personnel. I subscribe to a philosophy of independence from one extreme versus another. Perhaps that makes me a wimp, or perhaps a “moderate.” Let’s take a “Former Fed’s” view of the debate from a legal standpoint. Continue reading »

Sep 142015

Same Sex Marriage | Cochell Law Firm BlogThe Supreme Court’s recent decision on same sex marriage, in Obergfell v. Hodges was a world changer for millions of United States citizens, the majority of whom do not identify themselves as “gay” but also includes millions that have a different sexual preference.  For many citizens who are deeply religious, recent events have made them ask the question: “What happens when the world changes and others demand that I behave differently in the way I do business?” “Are my religious beliefs worth losing my job?”  The answers are difficult, and sometimes are not easily answered by legal authorities, public officials, government employees or private employers.  In other words, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergfell could impose difficult changes on both employees and employers in private and public employment. Continue reading »

Sep 102015

(Part 2 of a 2-Part Article)Hilary - White House or Jail | Cochell Law Firm Blog
By Stephen Cochell, Esq.[1]

In Part I, we discussed basic principles of justice and some of the facts that appear to be known.  This section will put more “meat” on the subject for readers who want the gory legal details!

Some of the Relevant Laws & Criminal Offenses
Some of the laws that may be considered in determining whether probable cause exists to prosecute Hilary include: Continue reading »

Sep 102015

A Former “Fed” Takes a Look | Criminal Law OpinionHilary - White House or Jail | Cochell Law Firm Blog | Criminal law

(Part 1 of a 2-Part Article)

 By Stephen Cochell, Esq.[1]

Regardless of one’s political beliefs or party affiliation, Hilary Clinton, at least as of this moment, represents a substantial portion of the Democratic Party and still remains the frontrunner for the Party’s nomination for President next year.  There is no question that Hilary Clinton has ably and aggressively represented the citizens of New York as a former United States Senator and has done good things for other people through the Clinton FoundationNone of us should rush to judgment against Hilary Clinton, who most people refer to as just “Hilary.”[2] Continue reading »

May 212015

I’ve had clients get upset and angry about competitors infringing their trademark rights, but the recent shootout in Waco, Texas takes the term “trademark dispute” to a new level. The fight reportedly erupted over a number of issues. Incredibly, it is reported that there was a dispute involving gang colors and logos, as well as the usual fight over turf, recruiting and who is “licensed” to sell what and where!

Hells-Angels | Cochell Law Firm BlogSome interesting marks have been trademarked by various motorcycle gangs. For example, we are all familiar with the Hells Angel logo, which features the “death’s head’ insignia with their name “Hells Angels.”

Continue reading »

Jan 162015

Is Hilary Clinton | Cochell Law Firm BlogIf Hilary Clinton left her employment taking confidential documents from a private employer, we would be talking about how her employer sued and obtained an injunction against her for theft of trade secrets in addition to a request to recover her private server so the employer could recover classified documents that belong to them, or were destroyed.

The drama over Hilary’s server illustrates a continuing problem between employers and former employees. Like employees of any business, Secretary Clinton was an employee of the State Department and had the same duties to treat “classified” information to her employer. State Department regulations are clear that the documents are owned and belong to the State Department. Allegations of document destruction are now being raised by members of Congress and the public. However, Congress is scratching its head as to whether State Department policies are lax or not uniformly enforced. Continue reading »

Jan 152015

No Partnership Dissolution Agreement is Risky Business | Cochell Law Firm BlogConsider the following: You go into business with a partner 50:50, work really hard and build your business. After five years, you find yourself unable to get your company to the next level because your partner does not want to grow any further or refuses to invest in a growth plan. When you formed the partnership, your lawyer did not include a Buy-0ut provision or a Partnership Dissolution Agreement.  In the event of a deadlock. What can you do? Unfortunately, all too many clients start their business with partners who change over time or who become difficult to work with. If you do not have a provision in a company agreement, you have limited options: (1) come to some agreement with partner; or (2) dissolve the corporation and divide the assets and risk destruction of the company for both partners. A good partnership agreement frequently prevents such disputes from developing through a simple buy out provision. Continue reading »

Jan 132015

1 | | Cochell Law Firm BlogCriminal Law is being challenged with the murder prosecution of Robert Durst, which bespokes, “Will handwriting analysis become the new DNA test?” The murder prosecution of Robert Durst case will likely bring the reliability of forensic handwriting analysis to center stage to criminal law.

Durst, a real estate magnate, came to national prominence when he was acquitted by a Texas jury on self-defense despite the fact that he disposed of the body of the aggressor by dismembering the body and disposing of the parts. At that time, many legal pundits and the public were shocked by the result. No one should assume that Robert Durst will be convicted in this latest case simply because there are handwriting experts prepared to testify before a jury. Unless you were there to see and hear the evidence, we should all presume that the jury got it right, and Durst was an innocent man. Continue reading »