Tag: Howard & Howard

Can You Register a Copyright on an Artistic Element in an Industrial Design?

Suppose that you have expressed your idea into a tangible form such as two-dimensional artistic elements incorporated into an industrial design.  Although your copyright exists upon the moment of creation, do you have a valid copyright?  Should you register your copyright on the two-dimensional artistic elements with the U.S. Copyright Office?  Can you stop a … Continue Reading

How to Avoid Having Your Patent Interpreted as a Covered Business Method (CBM) Patent

Suppose that you have an invention disclosure that uses computers and the Internet to carry out transactions that could include financial transactions? When you draft your patent application, is there anything that you can do to avoid having your patent application and resulting issued patent from being interpreted as a covered business method patent?  The … Continue Reading

PLEADING PATENT INFRINGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES?

How do you plead patent infringement in the United States?  Can you survive a motion to dismiss if the defendant challenges the sufficiency of your complaint?  What should you do? Let’s say your client has a United States patent that is believed to be infringed by another party.  You do not rely on the client … Continue Reading

IS YOUR TRADEMARK MERELY DESCRIPTIVE?

In the United States, a trademark can be refused registration on the Principal Register because the trademark is deemed merely descriptive.  If the trademark is not allowed for registration on the Principal Register, it may be eligible for registration on the Supplemental Register.  So, how do you determine if your mark is descriptive and which … Continue Reading

Can a 3-D Work of Artistic Craftsmanship be Protected by a Copyright?

Suppose that you create a unique three-dimensional display. You find out that your competitor has copied your three-dimensional display. Can you claim that the design of the display is a three-dimensional work of artistic craftsmanship to apply for a copyright registration to enforce against your competitor? The answer may be YES! Under 17 U.S.C. § … Continue Reading

WITHOUT PATENT PROTECTION, CAN YOU PROTECT THE DESIGN OF A PRODUCT IN THE UNITED STATES?

Suppose that you have a unique design for your product but no patent protection in the United States?  Can you protect your product design to prevent a competitor from producing the same or similar design?  Is there anything you can do? Let’s say you created a unique design for a product such as a smart … Continue Reading

When Franchisees Innovate: Discussing The “Big Mac” Provision

During the life of a franchise system, franchisees are often the source of new product and service offering ideas. Franchisors often find that some of the best-selling products are created by franchisees.  For example, some of the most popular sandwiches (including the Big Mac, Filet-o-Fish, and Egg McMuffin) at McDonald’s were created by franchisees.  Indeed, … Continue Reading

California Amends its Franchise Relations Act

California recently made new amendments to its franchise law, California Franchise Relations Act (“CFRA”) (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §20000 et seq.), which regulates franchisee-franchisor relationships. These amendments, which will affect franchise agreements entered into or renewed after January 1, 2016, substantially change the laws in that state dealing with franchise terminations and renewals. The … Continue Reading

Can 3-D Scanning and Printing be a Copyright Infringement?

Suppose that you have a unique configuration for your physical object. You find out that your competitor has scanned the configuration of your object and is printing the object with a three-dimensional (3-D) printer. Is there anything you can do?  The answer is YES! Let’s suppose you have created a physical object such as a … Continue Reading

The Real Impact of Counterfeiting

A group of luxury brand makers including Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves St. Laurent, and other brands owned by Paris-based Kering SA, recently sued on-line retail giant Alibaba, claiming that the company had knowingly made it possible for counterfeiters to sell their wares throughout the world.  Why should we care about counterfeit goods?  Those luxury brand companies … Continue Reading

Franchisee Who Ignored His Disclosure Document Loses Lawsuit

A franchisee who sued his franchisor for fraud learned the hard way why it’s important to read the Franchise Disclosure Document, cover to cover, before buying a franchise. A California franchisee of Big O Tires sued the company in California court, alleging that Big O defrauded him when it sold him a franchise. The California … Continue Reading

The Forum-Selection Clause in Your Franchise Agreement: Why it’s Important

One of the most common provisions in franchise agreements is the “forum-selection” clause. Under these provisions, the parties agree that any lawsuit filed by either one of the parties will be brought only in a court in a specified city and state. The chosen court will almost always be in the city where the franchisor … Continue Reading
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