Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Continuing the Theme on Thursday

We'll review the basics in a webinar on Thursday at 12:30 PM!

This will be a webinar on copyright and trademark law for small businesses. Learn what a trademark is. Learn what a copyright is. This is going to be a primer so that you're familiar with the terms and with the differences between these areas of intellectual property. Don't hesitate to protect your trademarks and copyrights!

Host: Anthony Verna

Call Title: Trademark and Copyright Law for Small Business
Call Date: Thursday, September 17, 2009
Call Time: 12:30 PM Eastern
Confirmation Number: 25417784
Primary Dial-In: 800-749-9945
Passcode: 7413 501#

You will need to dial in to hear and click the link at the time of the meeting to see the web portion.

To join the web conference: http://web.meetme.net/r.aspx?p=2&a=70542541778473
For a current list of alternate numbers: http://web.meetme.net/r.aspx?p=6&a=70542541778473

Click here to add to your Outlook or iCalendar!

Copyright Event this Week

The FCC and the Copyright Alliance (a non-profit group aimed at helping to protect artists' rights under copyright law) are combining for a workshop in person and online.

On Thursday, September 17th, 2009, The Role of Content in the Broadband Ecosystem will take place. Its website is: http://www.broadband.gov/ws_bb_ecosystem.html

The event is fully interactive - notice that the FCC is now on Twitter - and questions will be accepted from the room and from the web.

This workshop will address issues pertaining to online content and its role in the broadband ecosystem. Questions to be addressed include:

  • How does the illegal copying of online content impact job creation in sectors of the economy that produce digital content?
  • What measures should be taken to address piracy and other mechanisms for illegal delivery of content? What agencies should have jurisdiction?
  • What are the tradeoffs between content protection and innovation in industries other than content?
  • Are there business and regulatory models that preserve innovation, increase consumer choice, and deliver economic returns to content owners?
  • What are other countries doing to protect content online and to encourage the availability of content that may help drive broadband adoption? What are the best practices in these areas?
  • Do measures to address piracy have the potential to raise barriers to market entry by, for instance, making it more difficult to market their products?
I hope you are able to join this event.


Do not forget that you can find me on Facebook at http://facebook.com/anthonyvernalaw and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/avernalaw for more daily discussions on trademark and copyright law.


Friday, September 11, 2009

How to set up your IP

In the past couple episodes of ABC's "Shark Tank" (which itself is one version of a show called "Dragon's Den" in most countries), intellectual property has played a part. (Once again, the premise of the reality show is that businesspeople show their wares to self-made entrepreneurs who decide if they want to invest in the small business.)

One of the business men (who calls himself "Cactus Jack") decided to show all of his patents to the panel - ostensibly proving his value as an inventor and as a businessman who can make money on his inventions. One question I have been asked (though I do not practice patent law) is, "What percentage of patents make money?" The answer is hard-to-impossible to find, but the answer that I hear all the time is 5%. Where does that number come from? I wish I knew - I can't find it. But, needless to say, the point is that if the businesspeople behind the intellectual property are bad, then the intellectual property itself is bad. Now, Cactus Jack said he made $7 million on one product, which I think proves the point.

Another episode featured two women with a wonderful playpen cover. The issue that came out during the deal is that the patent was not a part of the business. The patent owners were the two women and the ex-husband of one of them. The problem there is that a person is a legal entity - but so is a corporation. So if a business is using the patent without an assignment or license from the owners, the business is technically infringing the patent.

This is something I see all the time. When a client comes to me anew, I always have to ask what the business plan is. How does the client see the intellectual property? When I am thrust in the middle of an issue, and I see that intellectual property at the USPTO is in the name of the owner, but not the corporation, I then have more issues to deal with.
  1. Who is my client?
  2. What assignments do I need to create and have executed?
  3. What side of those assignments am I allowed to be on?
So, the IP needs to be a part of the business.

If you're a current client of mine, I've made sure that your IP is a part of the business. That's only correct.

How is your IP set up? Is all your IP registered? If you have a question, send me one at law@nyctrademarks.com.


There seems to be a recent change in the definition of contributory trademark infringement. And I say "seems" because I am not sure of all the ramifications of a recent ruling. Louis Vuitton (which is a company that defends its IP) has sued some companies that host parked web pages. A parked page is one that only lists links to other companies on a domain name that might be popular for one reason or another (for example, a misspelling).

But, on second thought, maybe there's nothing new here - except the large amount of damages. Louis Vuitton alerted the company and the company with the parked pages still had infringing websites. It is the job of any company who is alerted to trademark infringement to not contribute to it.


A trademark client of mine was featured in the New York Daily News recently, and you can click here for that article.


Don't forget to become a fan of mine on Facebook at http://facebook.com/anthonyvernalaw and follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/avernalaw for daily updates and discussions on the world of intellectual property and entertainment law.

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