The State of US Copyright Law

There have been two very high profile copyright cases regarding music in the last year. In both cases, a jury returned the opposite result of what most copyright scholars were anticipating. The first case, Blurred Lines involved two songs that both had party sounds, and liberal use of cow-bell-esque percussion. The second case, involving Stairway […]

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California Gallery Law

California is one of many states with a standard regime of protection for artists with work in galleries. (Civil Code ยง 1738.) The law enacts the basic protections necessary for artists, without some of the extra steps taken in states like Massachusetts or Oregon. The statute applies to artists (or artists’ heirs) selling the artist’s […]

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Defend Trade Secrets Act

President Obama recently signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which creates a federal cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets. While national uniformity is likely several decades away – as the law is interpreted by federal courts, courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court, this brings uniformity to an area of law that was […]

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Private Label Products

If you’d like to offer a product under your brand that you don’t make you have two options: 1) develop that product and enter the market with your own version, or 2) find an existing version you like, and enter into an agreement for that company to manufacture the product for you, under your brand. […]

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Cheap Trademark Applications: You Get What You Pay For

There are a lot of companies who offer shockingly inexpensive services to prepare and file your trademark application, as low as $99 plus governmental fees. Most of those companies offer flat fees, but closer examination of the offers reveals that if you face any push back from the Trademark Office you may owe them additional […]

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Who In My Company Can Sign A Contract?

As your company grows, it becomes harder to ensure that everything important comes across your desk. Employees looking to take initiative may try to handle things on their own that are best handled by you, or your attorneys. Any employee with the apparent authority to enter into a contract can bind the company to a […]

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Building A Patent Portfolio

As your company grows, and your intellectual property policy matures, you will generally focus on two things: developing new inventions to be patented, and continuing to develop existing patent lines. After a patent is filed but before it issues, you can file subsequent patent applications that contain all or part of the disclosure from a […]

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The Murky World of Implied Licenses

Say a company hires you to take some images for their website. In the negotiations back and forth the parties neglect to include an assignment or license for the images created. You decide to get cheeky and sue for copyright infringement. After all, they don’t have a license to the work or own it according […]

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How Long Will It Take To Get A Patent

After preparing and filing a patent, it is often a waiting game until you hear back from the US Patent and Trademark Office. It can be as much as two to three years before you receive a first office action letting you know whether the USPTO believes the patent is allowable. The USPTO provides statistics, […]

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Breach of License vs. Copyright Infringement

If you’ve granted someone a license to use your copyrighted work, and they violate the terms of the license, you may have a claim for breach of contract or copyright infringement. Which cause of action depends on the nature of the breach. Let us assume that you licensed the other party to use the copyrighted […]

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