Michelle Hon Donovan

Michelle Hon Donovan: Attorney with Duane Morris LLP


Michelle Hon Donovan is a commercial lawyer, specializing in intellectual property, privacy, data protection, technology transactions and other commercial contracts . Ms. Donovan's clients represent a wide range of industries, including pharmaceutical and biotechnology, high-end consumer electronics, software, automotive, music, cosmetics and personal care products, real estate development, education, staffing, food and beverage, cannabis, and social networking.

Intellectual Property

Ms. Donovan's intellectual property matters include:

•Domain Names
•Social Media
•Unfair Competition

Ms. Donovan handles both prosecution and enforcement of trademarks and copyrights. This includes assisting brand owners in developing global brand protection strategies, domestic and international filing, and international opposition and enforcement strategies. She also advises clients on transactional and compliance matters specific to advertising and digital marketing. Recognizing the value of achieving prompt resolutions to disputes and avoiding costly litigation, Ms. Donovan has often used her skills, judgment, and creativity to negotiate favorable outcomes for clients and frequently obtains complete relief without filing a lawsuit. When settlement is not desired or practical, Ms. Donovan tirelessly fights for her clients' rights to summary judgment and trial.

Privacy / Data Security

•GLBA / Safeguards Rule
•Breach Notifications
•Regulatory investigations

Ms. Donovan regularly counsels clients in the complex areas of privacy and cybersecurity, including cybersecurity preparedness, regulatory compliance and investigations, and data breach response. She also counsels clients on the rapidly changing field of data privacy, including the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). She has developed a particular area of expertise in the privacy and cybersecurity issues specific to higher education. .

Technology Transactions, Licensing and Commercial Contracts

Ms. Donovan also negotiates and drafts various technology transactions, licensing and other commercial contracts, including contracts relating to intellectual property, software, SaaS, and API licenses, software and website development, manufacturing and distribution, digital marketing, SEO, PPC, PPL, website terms, and consulting/independent contractor agreements.


•Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2014-present
- Associate, 2005-2013
•Buchanan Ingersoll
- Associate, 2004-2005
- Summer Associate, 2003
•The Honorable Ruben B. Brooks, Federal District Court, Southern District of California
- Extern, 2004
•The Salk Institute, Ron Evans Gene Expression Laboratory
- Research Assistant, 1999-2001

Civic and Charitable Activities

•Co-founder of Lavin Entrepreneurship Advocacy Program (LEAP), a legal advocacy programoffered in partnership with San Diego State University and the University of San Diego School of Law to pair SDSU student entrepreneurs with USD law students and Duane Morris attorneys to offer legal assistance for start-up businesses (2017-present)

•Mama's Kitchen, San Diego, California. Board of Directors (2009-2012; Volunteer (2007-present): Non-profit organization, providing hot meals to persons suffering from HIV and cancer
•Lilith's Hands, San Diego, California. Founder & President (2001-2002): Organized and promoted charity concert to benefit women in the community, including sexual assault and domestic violence programs

Selected Publications

•Quoted, Report: Nearly Half of Employees Are Unaware of California Consumer Privacy Act, Corporate Counsel, April 30, 2019

•Quoted, What is Personal Information? In Legal Terms, it Depends, Malwarebytes, April 11, 2019

•Author, “California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018: Considerations for Higher Education Institutes,” Career Education Review, August 2018

•Co-author, California Passes Nation's Strictest Data Privacy Law, Duane Morris Alert, July 9, 2018; republished in Privacy Laws & Business International, August 2018

•Author, “General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Career Education,” Career Education Review, July 2018

•Author, GDPR Compliance May Be Necessary for U.S. Higher Education to Avoid Steep Fines, Duane Morris Alert, July 19, 2018

•Author, Class Action Student Loan Scams-A New Take on an Old Scam, Career Education Review, October 2017
•Author, Schools Must Adhere to Cybersecurity Regulations or Risk Losing Title IV Eligibility, Duane Morris Alerts, September 14, 2017
•Co-author, Cybersecurity and Potential Loss of Title IV Eligibility, Career Education Review, September 2017

• How Schools Can Use IP to Fight Student Loan Scams, San Francisco Daily Journal and Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 19, 2017

•Co-author, Student Data Protection in an Era of Education Technology Innovation, Duane Morris Alert, August 7, 2015
•Co-author, Postsecondary Institutions Subject to the New Federal Gainful Employment Rule Have Until July 31, 2015, to Complete Reporting of Data to U.S. Department of Education, Duane Morris Alert, July 27, 2015

Protecting Your School from Cybercrime and Inadvertent Data Breaches, Career Education Review, April 2015

• Sunrise Periods for First Wave of gTLDs Are Now Open, Duane Morris Alert, December 9, 2013
New TCPA Rules Effective October 16, 2013, Duane Morris Alert, September 2013
•Michelle Donovan, Eric Sinrod, Jeff Redman, Share on the Inside, Protect on the Outside: Best Practices for IP Protection in the Age of Social Networking, LES Insights 2011 Dec 19

Taming the Wilde, Wilde West of Lead Generation, Career Education Review, Oct. 2010

Selected Speaking Engagements

•Presenter, “ E-Signed, Sealed, Delivered, ” Duane Morris Commercial Contracts Checkup Series, Webinar, January 24, 2019

•Presenter, Learn to Be Legally Compliant and Outperform Your Competition in the Ever-Changing Marketing Landscape. The Latest in Misrepresentation & New Marketing Strategies that Drive Major Results for School, CAPPS 34th Annual Conference, Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, Rancho Mirage, California, October 11, 2018

•Speaker, Legal Updates and Trends for 2018, Duane Morris and BB&T Breakfast Briefing, January 2018

•Presenter, “Are You Up-to-Date on Key Provisions and Confidential Information Protections in Term Sheets, MOUs and Letter Agreements?” Duane Morris Commercial Contracts Checkup Series, Webinar, June 21, 2018

•Speaker, Legal Update: Cybersecurity for Schools AACS 2017 Annual Conference, November 2017

•Speaker, Leveraging the Present and Future of Social Media to Connect and Engage Future Graduates, 31st Annual Conference Strong Student, Proud Graduates, California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS), October 8, 2015
• Cybersecurity: Addressing the Risks to Schools and Student Records, APSCU webinar, May 2015
•Speaker, Cyber Crime: Beware of Multi-Dimensional Attacks, San Francisco Treasury Symposium, May 1, 2015
•Speaker, Cybersecurity: Managing Risks and Protecting Your Organization, 2015 Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance
•Speaker, Cybercrime and Protecting Your Organization, 2015 Webinar co-presented with FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
•Speaker, Text Talk (Compliance for Telemarketing Texts), 2014 AACS Spring Management Conference
•Speaker, Protecting Educational Records at School and in the Cloud, 2014 AACS Legal Seminar
•Speaker, Cybercrime and Your Legal Liabilities, 2014 Webinar
•Speaker, New Telemarketing Consent Rules under the TCPA, AACS 2013 Annual Conference, November 2013
•Speaker, The Business Cyber Liability Luncheon Nov. 2013 German American Chamber of Commerce Luncheon
•Speaker, Protecting Your Rights in a Digital Age 2013 AACS Spring Management Conference
•Speaker, Cyber, Privacy and Social Media Risks: How to Survive in the Digital Age Sept. 2013 Duane Morris and BB&T Breakfast Briefing
•Speaker, Social Media: Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano Nov. 2012 Duane Morris and BB&T Breakfast Briefing
•Speaker, Share on the Inside, Protect on the Outside: Best Practices for IP Protection in the Age of Social Networking 2011 LES Annual Meeting
•Speaker, Misrepresentation Rule and Third Party Vendors 2011 APSCU Webinar
•Speaker, Internet Highway Robbery: Protect Your Domain, Trademarks, & Copyrights from Cyberthieves, 2008 CCA Annual Convention
•Speaker, Katie Bar The Door! Protecting Yourself From Privacy Problems & Internet Scoundrels, 2008 AACS Spring Management Conference
•Speaker, Proprietary Information, Idea Ownership, and Copyrights, International Special Events Society San Diego Chapter meeting, San Diego, California, November 20, 2008

(Also at Palo Alto and San Francisco Offices)

Areas of Practice (10)

  • Litigation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Internet Law
  • Internet Marketing/Lead Generation
  • Privacy
  • Cybersecurity and Data Breaches
  • Computer Law
  • Software
  • E-commerce
  • Licensing

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
619 744 2219  Phone
619 923 2967  Fax
University Attended:
University of Minnesota, B.S., Genetics and Cell Biology, 1999
Law School Attended:
University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2004
Year of First Admission:
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois; 2004, California; U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Professional Activities

•Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, Advisory Board

•The Comfort Cub Program, Advisory Board

•International Trademark Association

•Lawyers Club
•State Bar of California
•San Diego Bar Association

Reported Cases:
Representative Matters: Trademark Prosecution: Represented a variety of clients in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, high tech, and software industries to prepare and prosecute domestic and international applications; Represented clients in the prosecution and defense of oppositions and cancellation actions filed before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board; Represented clients in the prosecution and defense of international oppositions, non-use cancellations and removal actions throughout the world.; Filed appeal of refusal of registration before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board; Cybersecurity and Privacy: Represented school with breach incident involving consumer and attorney general breach notifications covering 43 states, remedial action, and developing compliant cybersecurity and incident response plans.; Represented large multi-campus college with data breach incident, involving multi-state breach notifications, remedial action and developing security breach incident response plans.; Represented college with data breach incident in California, including breach notification, remedial action, and developing security breach incident response plans.; Obtained a decision in the Central District of California defeating a highly contentious bid for preliminary injunction over the alleged violation of California wiretap and privacy laws, affirmed by the Ninth Circuit on appeal.; Prepared comprehensive Information Security Programs for clients, compliant with GLBA, Safeguards Rule, FERPA, Red Flags Rule, and PCI data security standards.; Advise companies of all sizes on complex privacy issues.; Technology Transactions, Licensing and Commercial Contracts Represent manufacturers in the biotech / pharmaceutical space with manufacturing and supply agreements.; Represented an operator of premier vacation home properties in a $10 million acquisition of a Missouri tourism center and accompanying intellectual property.; Represented various manufacturers with domestic and international distribution agreements; Represented California college in licensing curriculum and trademarks to third-party schools; Represented franchisor with software development and licensing agreements; Represented numerous companies with online advertising and marketing agreements; Non-disclosure agreements; Intellectual Property Litigation: Represented biotechnology imaging company sued for patent infringement of imaging method patents. Obtained favorable settlement after obtaining partial summary judgment on all but one claim.; Represented a California college in a trademark infringement action. A direct competitor was using the client's trademarks in the meta data of its webpage. We obtained consent judgment of infringement and payment of damages.; Represented a designer in bringing a copyright infringement suit against an infringing competitor. Obtained favorable settlement for the client.; Represented cloud-based music storage service in a copyright infringement case brought by a group of major record labels and publishers. Won a favorable summary judgment decision involving issues of first impression related to storing and playing music from the cloud.; Represented nationwide staffing corporation in a trademark infringement action. Assisted client in bringing an action to protect its registered trademark; obtained settlement where defendant agreed to change its name and pay damages.; Represented Las Vegas casino and resort sued by lighting designer for copyright infringement. We obtained summary judgment of non-infringement.; Represented a pharmaceutical research institute sued for patent infringement of imaging method patents. Obtained summary judgment of non-infringement.; Represented multiple educational institutions in connection with the misappropriation of the schools' name in connection with internet scam websites and degree mills. We assisted the clients in obtaining registered trademarks and pursuing those who misappropriated our clients' trademarks through arbitration under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy.; Cybersecurity and Privacy: Advise companies of all sizes on cybersecurity issues and privacy.

Peer Reviews

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San Diego, California

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