Legal News

Is Your Independent Contractor Really an Employee?

There have been disruptions in California barbershops, salons, tattoo shops, yoga studios, dance studios, and the like, after the recent California Supreme Court case, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, reclassified who can work as an independent contractor. The court imposed a new test, known as the ABC test, which determines whether an individual is an independent contractor, and includes the following: whether the worker is free of the control and direction of the hiring entity in the performance of the work (under contract and in fact), whether the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, and whether the worker customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity. Free of control and direction of employer: If an employer requires and individual to perform certain [...]

January 14th, 2019|

Filing Cannabis Trademarks: How The Farm Bill May Affect You

The President signed the “Farm Bill” into law on December 20, 2018.  The law provides important agricultural policies, including a change that involves the cannabis plant.  Below is a breakdown of the law and how it may affect companies that produce, process, or sell cannabis or cannabis-related products.   Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L) production, processing, and sale will be legalized with restrictions: The hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC (delta–9 tetrahydrocannabinol). Cultivators are required to obtain a license. Hemp farmers will be recognized as a farmer under the Federal Crop Insurance Act. Cannabidiol (CBD) will only be legal under specific circumstances: The Farm Bill ensures that any cannabinoid that is derived from hemp will be legal, if and only if a licensed grower produces that hemp in a manner consistent with the Farm Bill, federal and state regulations. All other cannabinoids produced in any other manner will [...]

January 3rd, 2019|

Is your start-up safe from cybersecurity breaches?

Do you intend to start a new business venture in 2018? Are you developing a fantastic product with some business associates that you are keeping secret for the time being? What steps are you taking to get your start-up business off on the right foot? If you handle your finances, share documents and store files electronically, you are in danger of getting hacked. Every business -- including your start-up -- is a potential target. In fact, sending emails and storing information on the Cloud has already exposed you to the dangers of cyber-attacks. How to help protect your business from hackers Data security can no longer be just a portion of your business plan; it needs to be your No. 1 priority. What can you do, and where do you start? Urgency: First, understand that hacking is not a matter of "if" your information will be compromised; it is a matter [...]

September 17th, 2018|

Copyright issues, like nightmares, can keep you up at night

Did you watch your favorite horror movie this Halloween? "It: Chapter One" is the most recently released horror film. Based on a Stephen King novel, It (as it is commonly known) hit the big screens last month to wide success. Some claim it is one of the scariest movies in recent history. Before It came along, another nightmare began brewing. Conjuring up a serious lawsuit A little background: Gerald Brittle is the author of The Demonologist, a book he wrote in the 1980s about real life paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. Brittle claims that at the time the book was written, the Warrens signed an agreement granting Brittle the exclusive rights to their paranormal case files. This means that his permission would be needed in order to produce films based on those files and on his book. Starting in 2013, film studio Warner Bros. has produced widely-successful horror films based on the Warrens' lives [...]

September 17th, 2018|Tags: |

Can I register a service mark for my cannabis business?

On behalf of The Myers Law Group posted in Trademarks on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Cannabis business owners in California can now register their trademarks and protect their intellectual property rights. This is a welcome sign for those who provide cannabis-related goods or services in the state. With the passage of the Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) -- cannabis products became legal in California commerce. As a result, recreational use cannabis businesses have been growing like weeds (no pun intended) since January 1. Obtaining intellectual property protections Although the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not accept service mark applications for cannabis products, individual states may do so. Once California got the green light, business owners began submitting trademarks applications. You have worked hard to create your business brand. If you have a cannabis-related business, you will want the protection that the California Secretary of State provides. Protect your [...]

May 8th, 2018|Tags: , |

Trademark Infringement Claims Involving a Non-US Company

On behalf of The Myers Law Group posted in Trademarks on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. Sometimes potential trademark claims aren't always what they seem. The grocery chain Trader Joe's is appealing after losing a lawsuit to enforce its trademark against a Canadian individual who operates a store called "Pirate Joe's." For the past three years, Michael Hallatt has operated a grocery store that sells thousands of dollars of Trader Joe's goods in Vancouver. Mr. Hallatt opened his store in 2012, and Trader Joe's immediately contacted him to stop his operation. When he refused, Trader Joe's sued in federal court in the state of Washington. In the 2013 lawsuit, Trader Joe's claimed that the Canadian store was infringing on its trademarks and harming its business. Trader Joe's alleged that Pirate Joe's was arranged too similarly to an actual Trader Joe's store and that the store's display of products created consumer confusion. Trader Joe's argued [...]

May 5th, 2018|

Is your barbershop conversation protected by copyright?

On behalf of The Myers Law Group posted in Intellectual Property on Thursday, April 19, 2018. Can you seek intellectual property protection if you film people talking in a barbershop? It is a hot topic in sports-talk circles right now. The answer has surprising lessons for anyone interested in IP law. Dueling barbershop talk videos Basketball superstar LeBron James sent a cease and desist letter to Nick Saban, the head football coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide. In the letter, James accuses Saban of stealing his video concept in violation of his intellectual property rights. James has a web series called "The Shop" in which sports and pop culture celebs talk while getting haircuts. Saban recently released a video trailer for "Shop Talk" where he and several players talked about various topics in a barbershop. What ideas can be protected? In his letter, James claims that his videos are protected by copyright, trademark and [...]

April 19th, 2018|Tags: |

Don’t believe everything you hear about Yeezy’s international war

On behalf of The Myers Law Group posted in Trademarks on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Did you hear about the international battle between Kanye West and a Chinese company? Celebrity news websites TMZ and PEOPLE reported that the famous musician turned fashion designer was strapping on his "fightin' shoes" in order to go toe-to-toe with Fujian Baby Network Technology Co., a clothing company in China. West, who sells shoes and clothing under the name "Yeezy," was reported to have dropped the ball by failing to keep his trademark paperwork up-to-date. The news publications stated that the heated battle began when Fujian Baby swept in and nabbed the name "Yeezy Boost" for its new line of clothing. All things Yeezy are not what they seem Fortunately, the reports of the Yeezy demise are greatly exaggerated. The Fashion Law labeled the misinformation as FashionFakeNews, and explained what really happened: Kanye West holds a number of registered [...]

April 11th, 2018|Tags: , |

Issues Faced by the Food Industry

On behalf of The Myers Law Group posted in Trademarks on Thursday, April 2, 2015. Protecting intellectual property is very important in the food industry. Recently, Ina Garten, otherwise known as the Food Network cooking show host, the "Barefoot Contessa," sued a California company called OFI Imports, Inc. for selling unauthorized "look-alike" frozen dinners. Although Garten asked OFI to stop selling the dinners, which were manufactured by "Contessa Premium Foods," the company refused and eventually went out of business. Garten's lawsuit seeks to stop further sales and award damages. The food industry has provided a number of interesting examples of intellectual property disputes. For instance, the snack food manufacturer Kind, which sells nut-based bars in transparent wrapping, is suing Clif, the company that makes the Mojo bar. The Mojo bar is also sold with transparent wrapping. Kind has argued that the packaging style, which allows consumers to see the nuts and seeds in [...]

April 2nd, 2018|

Are your musical works protected like Taylor Swift’s?

On behalf of The Myers Law Group posted in Copyright on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Pop star Taylor Swift recently prevailed in a lawsuit regarding one of her popular songs. Four co-songwriters claimed that she copied a phrase from their 2001 song written for another band and used it in her 2014 hit song "Shake If Off." The lyrics regarding the notions that players play and haters hate was used in both songs. Fortunately for Swift, the judge decided that the "two truisms" were not creative and original enough for copyright protection, and he dismissed the case. While the songwriters have the right to change the wording of their complaint against Swift, the judge discouraged them from doing so in his ruling. What makes music copyrightable? Once you create a tangible form of your musical creation -- by writing it down or recording it -- it is automatically provided copyright protection. However, it [...]

March 7th, 2018|Tags: , |