Jacob R. Osborn is a partner in the firm’s Global Trade, Data, Privacy and Cybersecurity, and Digital Currency & Blockchain Technology practices. He also serves as the Co-Chair of Goodwin’s Global Trade practice and of the remote office. Jacob is an expert in computer software and encryption, and his legal practice largely focuses on advising clients with respect to regulatory matters, including encryption law and regulations. He joined Goodwin in 2008, and prior to becoming an attorney, was a software developer for a telecommunications company. He holds bachelors degrees in mathematics and computer science, and a masters degree in electrical and computer engineering.
Jacob represents scores of clients in the cybersecurity, telecommunications, software, and SaaS industries, including Atlassian, Carbon Black, Core Security, Dropbox, Fuze, Imperva, Mimecast, Offensive Security, Perforce, Twilio, and Zendesk.
Jacob is also an export lawyer and specialist, playing a prominent role in the firm’s Global Trade practice. He has advised hundreds of clients regarding regulatory compliance with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), economic sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), particularly with respect to electronics, telecommunications, software, and encryption items. In 2018 he was named as an “Up and Coming” lawyer for his International Trade, Export Controls and Economic Sanctions practice by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.
Jacob also provides counsel in dozens of matters involving computers, software, encryption, cybersecurity, and data privacy and breach investigations. As an early user of blockchain technologies and an encryption regulations attorney, he is able to bridge the gap between the law and technology, providing clients with valuable legal guidance in areas of technical complexity. Throughout his legal career Jacob has litigated more than a dozen technology cases throughout the United States, including domain name disputes, matters involving intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets), and other litigation involving computer-related federal statutes (e.g., the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act).
In his CFIUS practice, Jacob advises hundreds of clients (both companies and investors) with respect to the Defense Production Act of 1950, the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA), and all related foreign-investment regulations. To date, Jacob has first chaired more than a dozen mandatory declarations under the CFIUS “Critical Technology” Pilot Program, thereby helping clients in diverse industry sectors to successfully obtain US government approval for taking on foreign investment. He has also participated in numerous joint voluntary notices, and was counsel to the US company in the very first matter that CFIUS ever cleared under the “Critical Technology” Pilot Program.
As an export-controls lawyer and an EAR specialist, over the past decade Jacob has helped clients to classify hundreds of products under the EAR, through self-classifications and submitting formal classification requests with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. This export-controls expertise is complementary to Jacob's CFIUS practice because CFIUS filling obligations now often turn on the export-controls status of a company’s products and technology. In his sanctions practice, Jacob advises clients with respect to country-based and list-based sanctions, addressing complex trade issues involving Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the Crimea region of Ukraine.
Jacob provides counseling guidance in addition to supporting Goodwin’s M&A practice group during IPOs, acquisitions, investments, joint ventures, and other complex transactions, both on the company and the investor side. Jacob routinely guides clients through internal investigations and the voluntary self-disclosure process when facing regulatory violations.
Jacob also works with Goodwin’s Privacy & Cybersecurity team to provide technical expertise to help Goodwin clients understand data privacy regulatory obligations, such as those under GDPR.
Prior to carving his niche within the regulatory space, Jacob represented clients in a wide range of litigation disputes in jurisdictions throughout the country involving many different technologies. His prior litigation experience includes patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret disputes. Jacob has also represented clients with respect to other software-related claims involving the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. In 2015, Jacob successfully second chaired a trademark case before the Supreme Court of the United States, B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., an important decision at the intersection between agency decisions and IP litigation.
Areas of Practice
Jacob is a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association.
Prior to joining Goodwin, Jacob was a technical specialist at Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, PC, where he focused on electrical technologies and prosecuted patents at all stages of prosecution. His areas of specialty included hashing techniques, block ciphers, stream ciphers, public key encryption, and database designs.
American University Washington College of Law
The Johns Hopkins University
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Recognition & Awards
Jacob has been selected for inclusion in The Legal 500 U.S. 2022.
Jacob was named as an “Associate to Watch” by Chambers USA in the category of International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions, one of only two associates in the United States to receive this honor. In 2023, Jacob was recognized by Chambers USA in the areas of International Trade: Export Controls and Economic Sanctions, and International Trade: CFIUS Experts.
Jacob was selected as a Washington DC Super Lawyers “Rising Star” from 2013 – 2016, an award given to fewer than 2.5% of eligible attorneys.
- Presenter, "Law School for the CEO," CFIUS Pilot Program hosted by the CFO Leadership Council, April 2019
- Speaker, “White Hat Privilege: The Legal Landscape for a Cybersecurity Professional Seeking to Safeguard Sensitive Client Data," Blackhat, 2017
- Co-Author “Smartphone and Foreign Policy: ZTE Sanctions Explained,” Law360, March 2016
- Co-Author “The Seven Deadly Sins of U.S. and Non-U.S. Software Companies Under U.S. Export Controls and Sanctions Laws,” WorldECR, January 2015
- Author, "A View of the Hierarchy of Patent Rights, TRIPS, and the Canadian Patent Act," Akron Intellectual Property Journal, Volume 4, Number 2, 20100, 261, 2010
- Co-Author, "What is the Bilski Invention?," Managing Intellectual Property Newsletter, June 11, 2010
- Panelist, “Encryption Controls and Ensuring Compliance,” Massachusetts Export Center, June 2014