Category: United States

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IP ├ IP???: The Logic Of Election Year Legal Disputes Over Proprietary Intangibles

Title? Typo? Cryptic code? Equation? Really it is a combination of three of the four. In other words, it is not a typo (You can look elsewhere in this piece for those). One key to understanding the reference above is the mathematical logic symbol ├, which is known as the “’turnstile’…because of its resemblance to a … Continue Reading

U.S. House Unveils the Latest Attempt at a U.S. Privacy Law: The American Privacy Rights Act

The United States is among the minority of large economies in the world without a comprehensive national privacy law. In the absence of such a law, numerous states are filling the void with a complex assortment of often inconsistent privacy laws. However, unexpected legislative developments in the U.S. House of Representatives will potentially resolve the … Continue Reading

Should Disclaimers Always Be Made in U.S. Trademark Applications?

Suppose you have a pending U.S. trademark application for your trademark on goods or services for your business and a term or wording in the trademark is descriptive of your goods or services. During the examination of your trademark application, the examining attorney refuses registration because the term is merely descriptive of your goods or services … Continue Reading

Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma Chameleon: How Punctuation Can Color IP & Other Legal Rights

“[T]he comma…this capricious bit of punctuation…” United States v. Ron Pair Enterprises, Inc., 489 US 235, 249 (1989) (O’Connor, J, dissenting) For want of a comma, we have this case.” O’Connor  et al. v. Oakhurst Dairy et al.,851 F.3d 69, 70 (1st Cir. 2017) “But, when pressed, I do find I have strong views about … Continue Reading

Can U.S. Trademark Registrations Be Strengthened Against Invalidation?

Suppose that you have obtained a U.S. trademark registration for your trademark on goods or services for your business. Can your trademark registration be cancelled with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office based on it being invalid? Can you file anything to strengthen your trademark registration against invalidation? The answer is YES! if the trademark … Continue Reading

Trademark Considerations for Copyrighted Works in the Public Domain

In the United States, an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression (meaning the work can be communicated in a visual or audio form) is a protectable copyright. This means that the owner has the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, publish, perform, and display the work. Because copyright protection has a … Continue Reading

The Good Get: Interviews, The Predicates Of Copyright Ownership, & Divorcing Subjects From Owning Copyright Content

“Headlines” and “titles” are related, sometimes interchangeable, items appearing atop news stories. But, in this space, headlines are usually a source of inspiration (so we can write about intellectual property issues that may interest more than just IP attorneys), and titles a bit of fun (so we can draw in those looking for a bit … Continue Reading

Small Entity Status vs. Micro Entity Status for Patent Applications in the U.S.

Suppose you have an inventor or applicant who asks you to file a patent application in the U.S. However, the applicant has limited financial resources for filing the patent application. Should you claim small entity status or micro entity status for the applicant at the time of filing the patent application? The answer depends on … Continue Reading

With Friends Like These: Copyright Implications Of Novelists Drawing Inspiration From The Real Lives They Cross

Fiction writing has a curious claim on truth.  We learn this at the youngest age, listening to fairy tales when the child in us “intuitively comprehends that, although these stories are unreal, they are not untrue …”  Bettelheim, The Uses Of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales  (at 73).  We hear this in … Continue Reading

Maybe Duct Tape Can’t Fix Everything: Slippery Standards As Copyright Goes Bananas

Whether one focuses on the word’s connotation of silliness or excitement, or maybe even anger, or analogizes to the raucous and rhymingly-named team from Savannah that makes up its own baseball rules, US copyright law is currently going a little “bananas.” From ongoing debates about the human element (or requirement) of authorship to debates over what … Continue Reading

Can You Use Color Drawings or Photographs in Utility Patent Applications?

Suppose that you have an invention disclosure for a utility invention that you want to protect.  When you review the invention disclosure, you notice that the inventor has only supplied color drawings or photographs of the invention.  Can you file the utility patent application with the color drawings or photographs?  The answer is YES! if … Continue Reading

Make Your Mark On History: Connecting Tradenames To Landmark Events, People & Places

The phrase “make your mark on history” is a commonplace one with several meanings and connotations.  It is one offered at many high school and college commencement speeches as an exhortation to graduates to have an impact beyond themselves–as future-President, then-Senator John F. Kennedy said when telling Northeastern’s graduating class in 1956 “to make your … Continue Reading

Can You Register a Copyright on a Work that Contains Material Generated by Artificial Intelligence?

Suppose you have expressed your work in a tangible form, but it contains material generated by artificial intelligence (AI). Although your copyright exists at the moment of creation, does the work contain enough human authorship on which to base a claim for copyright registration? Should you register the copyright on the work with the U.S. … Continue Reading

Defining Boundaries: IP Law Addresses Exterritoriality, Lexicography & Human Touch

“Yes, the law is about words…,” says Ben Chiriboga in writing about the essential skills that lawyers must have.  And Ken White noted more recently that “the entire project of the law is about words meaning specific things.”  But our problem often is that the law, or lawyers, frequently use unfamiliar or exotic terms that … Continue Reading

The Training Wheels are Off: The Copyright Implications of Training Generative AI

With the introduction of several readily available applications, artificial intelligence (AI) has leaped into the mainstream and brought with it a host of legal questions.  Following the release in November of the now popular generative AI platform ChatGPT by OpenAI, companies including Microsoft and Google are rushing to release their own generative AI services or … Continue Reading

Free Speech, Chatting About Friends, Kraken/Crackin’ On AI, & Thinking About Fred & Ginger: Generated Content, Amici Curiae, & A Case About Jack Daniels That Dances Around Trademark Issues And Leaves Some Things To Chew On

Lots of people are talking about ChatGPT. Some, like those at Microsoft, see it as a valuable tool to be integrated into their products and platforms; indeed, one of its lawyers thought that the answer provided by ChatGPT to his legal question “sounds like a pretty good lawyer 😉.” But others are wondering whether we … Continue Reading

Can Trademark Applications and Administrative Proceedings Subject a Foreign Applicant to Service or Jurisdiction in Court Proceedings in the U.S.?

Suppose that you are a foreign applicant who either files a trademark application, opposition proceeding, or cancellation proceeding with the USPTO.  Can this act of filing subject the foreign applicant to service of process or specific or personal jurisdiction in court proceedings in the U.S.?  The answer is YES! as to service of process if … Continue Reading

QR codes with company logos can be a recipe for disaster – or a patent lawsuit

Say your company wants to run a new advertising campaign that includes a QR code for people to scan for additional information about your products or services. Not only that, but your creative team decides to go a step further and include your company logo in the middle of the QR code. You launch your … Continue Reading

SECONDS & LEFTOVERS AFTER THANKSGIVING: Cleaning Up & Emptying Out The IP Fridge

The American holiday of Thanksgiving is tradition-laden and is celebrated as much for the leftovers after that November Thursday as it is for the turkey on that day, at least according to the US Department of Agriculture.  Indeed, Americans “idolize Thanksgiving left overs,” and the “[t]he overstuffing of America’s fridges has become something of a … Continue Reading

FTC Staff Report Brings Dark Patterns to Light

Trick or treat? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff is focused on one “trick” this spooky season: Designing user interfaces to trick or manipulate users into taking actions they would not otherwise approve of, or putting obstacles in place to discourage consumers from exercising certain rights. These so-called “dark patterns” are a continued focus of … Continue Reading

SEC Penalizes Kim Kardashian Over $1 Million for Paid Crypto Post

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled with Kim Kardashian over allegations she violated Section 17(b) of the Securities Act (the “Act”) by publishing an Instagram post promoting the crypto-currency, EthereumMax token (EMAX), to her 250 million followers, without adequate disclosures. Kardashian received approximately $250,000 for this post.… Continue Reading

Full Of Sound And Query, Signifying Something: Recent Noise Over Acoustic Trademarks

Leo the Lion has been the most regular star of MGM Pictures since it was founded on this day in 1924, and his roar is probably the sound most commonly associated with the studio. –Kat Eschner, The Story of Hollywood’s Most Famous Lion (2017)   There’s no roar quite like a Nittany Lion’s! –Penn State Football … Continue Reading
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