Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Continuing to visit and update

Just as in the last update, I have been out visiting companies. This time, it was to Toy Fair 2011. I met with many interesting businesses of many different sizes. I also tried out many new toys - all were different. (And I did

I truly am excited about small business continuing to develop and innovate.

The development means that there are more ideas coming to fruition and that means more trademarks and copyrights to protect. It also means more advertising to be vetted. It is important to not forget these components to any business, especially in one where intellectual property and advertising is the business.

Trademark infringement is high in China - not because of counterfeiting (which is a different issue) - but because of a lack of knowledge of the trademark process. I see it often in the United States, too.

I am reminded that I spoke to someone recently who asked about a trademark registration. He said that he budgeted for placing the advertisement with a radio station. So, now, his company's trademark and advertisement were out in the ether, in use, but not vetted by an attorney. How does the company know that the mark does not infringe others or if the advertisement passes truthfulness, not misleading, and federal regulations?

Ford sues Ferrari for trademark infringement, as Ferrari planned to call its newest race car the F150. Ferrari backed off and proposes the use of "Ferrari F150 Italia" instead.

What I like here is the idea that more words in a trademark means that two marks that could be similar really are different: the target markets are different, the goods (while in the same industry) are different, and the marks themselves are different enough so that both can exist.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Traveleing and visiting

It is always a pleasure to visit new companies and see what new innovations are being made.

At Kravitz & Verna LLC, we do emphasize the need for companies to comply with federal regulations from different agencies in advertising. As our world grows more complex, so do regulations and so do the needs of companies to comply with advertising regulations. (As an aside, did you know California now has its own anti-spam statute, apart from the federal CANSPAM statute?)

It was with pleasure, then, that Robin and I visited the offices of CMPLY, whose website is cmp.ly, which is a start-up out of New York, helping companies follow federal compliance regulations and trying to make it easy. While no solution is black-and-white and every advertising situation has its own shades of grey, the conversations we had about advertising regulations schemes in today's world, full of social media and microsites were most enlightening and fulfilling.


That said, I am looking forward to going to Toy Fair this year. It starts next week. I will be going there, and I hope to see anyone on this list in the toy industry at the convention. Let me know where you will be if you will be there. Just send me e-mail at averna@kravitzverna.com.


Here is an interesting story about the federal government asking for the power to veto domain names. What troubles me here is the clash of "Security" versus the freedom of speech. This is a story to keep an eye on - especially if the federal government wishes to block any particular domain names.


We should not be surprised, but Zynga, makes of the Farmville and Cityville games on Facebook, are enforcing trademark rights against anyone who uses "ville" in a similar use. We need to keep an eye out to see if Zynga is going to expand this use.


I like meeting with someone at the very beginning of a project. This means I can lay out all the intellectual property issues at the beginning. What copyright issues are there? What trademark issues are there? I like developing the intellectual property plan at the beginning to reduce risk as much as possible.

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