Intellectual property law articles include information about patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secret protection and more.

The Risky Truth About File Sharing and Intellectual Property

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In 2013, Joel Tenenbaum was charged with illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted files.  He was accused by Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records, and UMG Recordings for violating U.S. copyright law.  The assessed damages were $675,000, but the judge reduced it down to $67,500.  The reduction was appealed, the $675,000 was reinstated, and Tenenbaum […]

net neutrality

California Joins Battle to Salvage Net Neutrality

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Recently New York and Montana have chosen to resist the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repeal of net neutrality, and now California is joining their ranks as the state legislature with a potential law that is closer than the others to reinstating net neutrality.  It directly defies the FCC ruling by forcing ISPs to follow net […]

Tesla Motors Offers Access to Patents Free of Charge

Tesla Motors builds the most popular electric cars in the world. Their models have a longer battery life than any other electric car on the market, traveling over 260 miles on a single charge. The Nissan Leaf, America’s most popular electric car model, only travels 84 miles. Tesla currently holds more than 200 patents, with […]

Pom Wonderful Sues Coca Cola Over Deceptive Marketing

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In a trademark infringement case, a plaintiff does not have to prove profit loss to win his case. If he can prove customer confusion and damage to his brand, he is still eligible to collect damages. In 2008, Pom Wonderful accused Coca Cola of unfairly marketing their pomegranate juices. Coca-Cola’s pomegranate-blueberry drink was mostly apple […]

Technology Giants in Battle Over Patents

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Apple is currently suing Samsung for patent infringement over features in several Samsung phones. Apple is seeking two billion dollars in damages over technological innovations like slide-to-unlock, word correction and contextual links. Samsung is countering with claims that the features mentioned in the suit were not Apple innovations at all, rather that they were developed […]

Samsung’s Expert Witnesses Testify Against Apple

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In the ongoing patent infringement suit between Apple and Samsung, the latter has just changed the balance considerably through its expert witness testimonies. Most of their witnesses were computer science academics who claimed that the allegedly infringing technologies were, in fact, developed independently of Apple before their patent registration. “In my opinion, they do not […]

Samsung's Expert Witnesses Testify Against Apple

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In the ongoing patent infringement suit between Apple and Samsung, the latter has just changed the balance considerably through its expert witness testimonies. Most of their witnesses were computer science academics who claimed that the allegedly infringing technologies were, in fact, developed independently of Apple before their patent registration. “In my opinion, they do not […]

Where to Look for Trademark Infringement Evidence

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A lot of valuable evidence hidden within a company’s website code can be used as evidence in a trademark infringement case. For example, FenF, LLC is currently suing Smartthingz, Inc. for trademark infringement. The former’s attorneys found infringing evidence in Smartthingz metadata, which is the information used by search engines to classify and rank a […]

Is Using Stock Photos Found On The Internet Copyright Infringement?

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Getty Images has filed five lawsuits in the month of January alone for copyright infringement. This comes as a shock as Getty has previously been known for sending out settlement demand letters but never following up on them. According to a representative of Getty, the lawsuits function to “send the message that we will take […]

When Does Parody Become Trademark Infringement?

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According to The International Business Times, Starbucks is suing comedian Nathan Fielder for trademark infringement. Fielder created what he claims is a parody of Starbucks called Dumb Starbucks, which features all of the trademarked Starbucks symbols with the word Dumb before them. “Although we are a fully-functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbucks needs […]

Can minors apply for trademark registration?

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A minor’s eligibility to file for trademark registration depends upon the corresponding state law. If the person validly enters into binding legal obligations in their state, that person may sign a trademark application. Otherwise, a parent or legal guardian must sign the application, clearly setting forth their status as a parent or as legal guardian […]

Can information on the internet be copied?

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Normally, information from the internet can be copied, but it is subject to certain difficulties. So long as the copy is for personal use, and the person using it does not further distribute the material, and makes no “for-profit” use of the material, there is no liability under federal copyright law. However, Congress has recently […]

Can a non-resident person own a trademark in the United States?

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In the matter of non-residency, applicants not living in the United States must designate in writing the name and address of a person residing in the United States. The United States Patent and Trademark Office will send his/her domestic representative all notices and communications regarding the mark, unless the person is represented by an attorney […]

Can a copyright owner transfer some or all of his specific rights?

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When a copyright owner wishes to commercially exploit the work covered by the copyright, the owner typically transfers one or more of these rights to the person or entity that will be responsible for getting the work to market, such as a book or software publisher. He/she may limit the transfer to a specific period […]

Are trademarks valid on the internet?

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Though the trademarks are valid on the internet, registration and use of a domain name (an address that indicates the location of the owner’s web site) is not similar to the registration and use of a mark. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has a detailed policy for handling the registration of domain names […]

Are provisional and non-provisional patent applications different?

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A provisional application only establishes the filing date and expires automatically after one year. A person seeking patent protection may make a provisional application when he/she is not ready to enter the application into the regular examination process. A provisional application establishes a filing date at a lower cost for a first patent application filing […]

Are digital signatures legally binding?

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Antonio Jobeem recently purchased a single-family home in New Orleans. It’s no big deal, except Antonio lives in Brazil and signed on the “E” line. On line deals can explode now that President Clinton signed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, or “E-Sign”, in June (effective October 1). No contract, signature or […]

Are customer identities a trade secret?

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When employees quit, can they take a customer list? Can they open a new business and target their marketing toward the customers of their former employer? What control does a business owner/employer have over records which reveal the identity and purchasing habits of customers? These questions were the subject of a case that was recently […]