Legal News

Pandemic Causes Spike in Trademark and Copyright Applications

The Coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe for the last several months has had many surprising effects, from the widespread implementation of social distancing guidelines and required face coverings in public places to massive spikes in to-go orders and carryout services from local restaurants and grocery stores. The pandemic has also wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy, resulting in millions of lost jobs, a jump in claims for unemployment benefits all over the country, and uncertainty about the nation’s economic future in the years to come. However, one of the unexpected results of the Coronavirus pandemic is the recent spike in trademark applications. Who Is Trademarking Right Now, and What Are They Trying to Trademark? The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has reported a massive influx of COVID-19 and Coronavirus-themed trademark applications, mostly for slogans. The Copyright Office has also reported a significant increase in copyright [...]

July 8th, 2020|

Tom Brady Waits for USPTO Ruling for New Tampa Bay Trademarks

Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, the news comes as a shock to many football fans. The change is also going to lead to some interesting new trademarks. Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin even switched his jersey number to 14 so newcomer Brady could keep his signature number 12. Professional athletes typically establish corporate entities that allow them to more easily manage trademarks related to their professional careers, likenesses, and merchandising efforts. TEB Capital Management, Inc. is Tom Brady’s corporate entity, which recently filed two new trademark applications for the phrases “Tampa Brady” and “Tompa Bay.”  Tom Brady has also successfully obtained trademarks for “TB12,” which he uses on a wide variety of merchandise centered around the athlete’s professional football career. What Do Tom Brady’s New Trademarks Mean? Tom Brady’s newest trademarks [...]

June 15th, 2020|

How 3D Printing Challenges Trademark, Copyright, and Patents

3D (three-dimensional) printing technology began in the 1980s, however, the increase and advancement of technology has allowed consumers the ability to access low cost 3D high-performance printers. With great technology comes great challenges to existing laws that never could have anticipated the future impact of these rapidly changing industries. With the market for 3D printers growing by 20% every year, any person can now own a 3D printer, which has vast implications on trademark, copyright, and patent law. Recently, while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, a hospital in Italy experienced a shortage of special valves used in breathing machines needed by COVID-19 patients. Local engineers recreated the valve design digitally and printed it with a 3D printer, without the permission of the patent holder. The incident, which involved a U.S. company, not only highlights potential ethical concerns in enforcing such intellectual property (IP) rights during a medical emergency, but [...]

April 15th, 2020|

The Importance of Businesses Having an Employee Handbook

If you are a new company just starting out, or an established business, one essential item your business must have is an employee handbook. This essential business tool provides uniformity regarding expectations, job performance, and benefits for all employees. An employee handbook helps employees understand what to expect from their employer, as well as establishes boundaries and regulations regarding employee requirements. Ultimately, an employee handbook protects business owners who find themselves in challenging employee disputes and protects employees who feel that employers are not following their own guidelines. Common Policies to Include in an Employee Handbook Although every employee handbook will be unique to every business, there are several very important issues that should be addressed, including: Anti-discrimination policy Employee benefits Compensation and bonuses Standards of conduct Work schedules Workplace safety Workers’ compensation Leave policies (annual leave, sick leave, FMLA leave, etc.) Complaint and grievance filing Non-Disclosure agreements, non-compete [...]

March 20th, 2020|

Considerations for Trademark Litigation

The reason that companies register a trademark is to protect their name, logo, or another commercially significant identifier of their product or service. In most cases, if a trademark owner becomes aware that their trademark rights are being infringed upon by unauthorized use of their mark, or the use of a confusingly similar mark, they will often be able to resolve the dispute through a cease and desist letter. However, in other cases, when another party continues the unauthorized use, the trademark owner may need to file a claim in court against the other party for trademark infringement. Valid Mark First, you must prove that you have a valid trademark that is being used in connection with your good or service. To register a trademark or claim common law rights to a mark, you must use the mark in commerce. There are additional requirements to a valid trademark including [...]

February 22nd, 2020|

About The Federal Partial Vaping Ban

E-cigarettes, also known as e-cigs and vape pens, are extremely popular and currently marketed as a cigarette alternative. These devices are battery-powered and designed to mimic cigarettes by vaporizing a liquid that contains nicotine, which is inhaled by the user. With a rise in popularity, the federal government, along with many states, have decided to step in and regulate or ban certain types of products associated with vaping. Federal Partial Vaping Ban As of May 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate the manufacture, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of e-cigarettes. Due to an increase in marketing vaping products to the public, the FDA has banned fruit, dessert, and mint-flavored products used in most e-cigarettes that use pre-filled pods. These flavored products have been extremely popular. The ban will have only a limited impact on Juul, which is the industry-leading company [...]

January 20th, 2020|

What Happens When Intellectual Property Laws Clash with Antitrust Laws?

Intellectual property laws protect copyrights, trademarks, and patents and grant the owner somewhat of a monopoly to use those rights. Conversely, antitrust laws discourage any type of monopoly or behavior that would be considered anticompetitive. As expected, these two tenets of business in the United States inherently clash against each other at times. While tension can be expected between these two sets of laws, knowing what happens when intellectual property laws clash with antitrust laws can help your business make better decisions and protect your legal rights. Intellectual Property and Antitrust Laws Those companies or persons that hold intellectual property rights must adhere to antitrust rules and regulations. The Sherman Antitrust Act governs the licensing and use of intellectual property and attempts to regulate the conduct of intellectual property owners who hold a substantial position in a specific market related to their trademark, copyright or patent. Some businesses have [...]

December 22nd, 2019|

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property Rights when Working with a Freelancer

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property Rights when Working with a Freelancer Your intellectual property rights are an important, yet sometimes overlooked asset of your business. Any original work like a photograph, written content, video content, or event audio content is protected by copyright law. Your business name, logo, tagline, and even product or program names may be protectable under trademark law. You may also have patentable designs or inventions, along with trade secrets that give your business a competitive edge. However, in cases where you need to hire a freelancer, you may wonder how to protect your intellectual property rights over content created by a freelancer working with your business, and how to protect trade secrets and proprietary information within your business that freelancers may have access to. Create a Solid Contract  Before you allow a freelancer to work on any project for your business, they should sign [...]

November 10th, 2019|

U.S. Copyright Office New Rule Concerning Registration of Unpublished Works

As of March 2019, the United States Copyright Office has created a registration option for unpublished works, in which up to ten (10) unpublished works can be registered for a single fee. But to qualify to use this application, the following must apply: (1) all the works must be created by the same author or the same joint authors, (2) the author or joint authors must be named as the copyright claimant for each work, (3) the claim to copyright in each work must be the same, and (4) each work must be registered in the same administrative class. Previously, you were able to file a copyright application for a collection of unpublished works and the collection itself had no limit.  Further, you may no longer use the Standard Application to file this type of work, but rather must now use the new Group Registration of Unpublished Works Application. [...]

October 25th, 2019|

Top 3 Reasons Why Every Website Needs a Copyright Policy

Whether you just launched a website, or you’ve had one for years, there are a few important policies your website needs, including a copyright policy. Even if you operate a blog or a small business, you must ensure that your rights are protected from copyright infringement — when another party reproduces, distributes, performs, publicly displays, or makes into a derivative work, your original content without your permission. Learn the top reasons why every website needs a copyright policy. 1. Put the world on notice of your rights. Copyrights are a form of intellectual property protection that apply to any original work that is created in a fixed, tangible form. This includes original works such as writing, photographs, artwork, songs, computer software, or other kinds of creations. Copyright actually exists the moment a work is created by the person who created it. Creating a copyright policy on your website will [...]

October 15th, 2019|