Technology Law Blog

Showing 12 posts by Samuel J. Frederick.

Cincinnati Who-Dey Ruling is Big Deal for Internet Commerce: Website immune from Ex-Bengals Cheerleader’s Defamation Lawsuit

The gossip website, thedirty.com, is immune from liability for online posts about an ex-Bengals Cheerleader’s sexual promiscuity and acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. In a closely followed decision from a case that has generated considerable media coverage because of its potential to chill online speech and hold internet websites such as Facebook, Twitter and newspaper sites liable, which allow third party users to post content, was reversed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently overturned a jury verdict of $338,000 against gossip website thedirty.com and its owner Nik Richie. Sarah Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings LLC arose after Sarah Jones, a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and teacher who was subsequently convicted of having sex with a high school student, sued the website after it posted unflattering information about her sexual promiscuity with football team players, she demanded the posts be removed, and the website refused. She filed state law tort claims for defamation and privacy torts and won at trial. The defendants appealed. Read More ›

Categories: First Amendment, Privacy, Social Media

The Importance of IT Contract Review

Technology is increasingly becoming an essential component of all industries. This is especially true for the health care industry. As health care providers continue to increase their use of technology, they are asked more and more frequently to enter into software or other IT contracts. Before entering into a contract, no matter the industry, you should always have an attorney review the document.  

Learn more about IT Contract Review for health care providers on our Health Care Law Blog here.

Are you interested in IT Contract Review for another industry? Contact one of our technology attorneys to help you review your agreement before you face unexpected problems or unwanted liability. 

Categories: IT Contracts

Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid = Trade Secrets

The toxic cocktail of chemicals in a company’s hydraulic fracturing fluid – much like Coca Cola’s secret recipe - is a trade secret.

Fracking involves pumping water, chemical fluids and sand underground into rock formations to fracture the rocks; the granular sand keeps the cracks open, thereby allowing the release of oil and natural gas from the fractured created rock veins. Read More ›

Categories: Trade Secrets

Trade Secret Theft: Speed Date Sues Match.com for $6 million

Speed Date USA, Inc. is suing the online dating company Match.com for $5.65 million for allegedly breaching its contract and misappropriating trade secrets. In essence, the lawsuit claims that Match.com terminated the contract early and then breached its obligations to hold joint events. Match.com terminated the contract, according to the lawsuit, upon learning Speed Date's trade secrets. Match.com then allegedly began to run its own speed dating events without compensating Speed Date USA.

Trade secrets are commonly defined by state statues and generally consist of four elements for the information to constitute a trade secret. The elements of a trade secret are: (i) information; (ii) that has independent economic value; (iii) which is not generally known or readily available; and (iv) such information is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. Read More ›

Categories: E-Commerce, Intellectual Property, News & Events, Trade Secrets

Intellectual Property Rights and the Crowdfunding Platform

Intellectual Property words graphicCrowdfunding, some would say, is the new social networking platform of raising money from people online.  While crowdfunding is a relatively new term and concept, traditional principles of law still apply.  Artists, startups and online creators using this new platform are governed by Intellectual Property principles.

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the creations of the mind; and most commonly include ideas or inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols that identify your brand, names, logos and/or competitive business ideas or information.  Under this broad umbrella of Intellectual Property, there are generally four categories that govern the use of Intellectual Property:

  1. Trademarks
  2. Patents
  3. Copyrights
  4. Trade Secrets

Before pitching or disclosing your concept to an online crowdfunding community to raise money these four categories of protection and the potential resulting consequences should be thoroughly examined.  Failure to do so could result in the inadvertent theft, infringement or forfeiture of your IP rights.  Let's take a deeper look at these four categories. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Crowdfunding, Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks, Venture Capital/Funding

Proposed Legislation Expands Protection of Trade Secrets

Legislation allowing victims of trade secret theft to sue in Federal court was introduced in the Senate recently. The Protecting American Trade Secrets and Innovation Act of 2012, sponsored by Senators Herb Kohl, Chris Coons and Sheldon Whitehouse, grants companies the option of using Federal courts to bring a civil lawsuit against offenders. The proposed law helps companies maintain their global competitive edge by ensuring an effective and efficient way to recover their losses from trade secret theft. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets

Barbie vs. Bratz: The Tirade of a Trade Secret

Trade SecretsLet's take a look at a common scenario.  An employee named Ted leaves a company, let's say "Company A," and goes to work for another company in the same industry – "Company B."  While employed by Company A, Ted worked on key projects and had access to and developed many new and creative concepts.  When Ted joins Company B, he implements many of the new and creative concepts he helped develop while working for Company A.  Company B later commercializes some of these concepts developed and brought over by Ted.  Company A then sues Company B, claiming misappropriation of trade secrets.  A trade secret, of course, is any information that has economic value because it is not generally known to the public and is subject to efforts to keep the information secret.  This scenario is common - the characters in the real life saga of Mattel v MGA Entertainment are not. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets

A Little Known Secret to the War on IP Piracy – that is Free

IP LawHow would you like to have the weight of the U.S. Federal Government behind you in combating piracy of your product?  And how would you like to have it for free?  If you answered no to both, perhaps you should reevaluate your business acumen.  For those who answered in the affirmative, please read on.

The free service is offered through the Office of Intellectual Property Rights (OIPR) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  OIPR can assist your company in combating intellectual property piracy of your products.  After you have secured your intellectual property protections at home and abroad and taken local enforcement steps through the administrative or legal process, OIPR will step in on your behalf and work with the foreign government to target, confiscate and destroy the piracy items. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Privacy, Trademarks

Video Sharing Site NOT Liable for Infringement - DMCA

If you own or are operating a video or file sharing website that utilizes another's content (read another's copyrights) the following case presents you with a valid defense.  If you are the user whose copyright has been infringed, this law is worth knowing before proceeding with costly litigation.

Veoh Networks - a video hosting website - sought protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's safe harbor provision against a user's infringement claims.  The user claimed Veoh (1) knew of and failed to remove infringing videos uploaded by other users; (2) had the ability to control infringing activity on its system; and (3) that its infringer policy was inadequate. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, Social Media

Invalid "Terms and Conditions" link to bind consumer to restriction

Are you purchasing items online, or, are you a merchant selling products using a website?  If so, you should check your Terms and Conditions link.

The case in point is Hines v Overstock.com Inc., and is relatively new under commercial law standards. Read More ›

Categories: E-Commerce